By Rick Ritter

OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Labor Day weekend takes a tragic turn along the Eastern Shore. In the midst of the holiday, a seven-year-old girl drowned in Ocean City.

The incident is just the latest in what’s been a deadly summer on Maryland waterways.

Rick Ritter has more on the heart-wrenching story.

Lifeguards battled an intense surf over the weekend with more than 100 water rescues on Sunday. They were off-duty when the seven-year-old girl went under water. It’s Ocean City’s first drowning of the summer.

Rough surf and no lifeguards on duty–a deadly combo that led to the drowning of a seven-year-old girl. The call came in early Saturday night. Heavy waves tumbled over the child, leaving her submerged under water.

Just minutes later, rescue teams were able to find the seven-year-old in the water. They tried giving her CPR, but she was unresponsive and later was pronounced dead.

Her death was just the first tragedy of the holiday weekend.

A 35-year-old man went missing while swimming in Ocean City on Sunday. After hours of frantically searching, the Coast Guard called off its crews.

“It’s very sad, very tragic. You don’t often think of it happening at the beach you’re going to be at,” said one beachgoer.

Both add to what’s already been a busy year on Maryland waterways–a near record of 18 boating fatalities statewide and more than 2,600 water rescues in Ocean City.

“The tragedies and the near tragedies that occurred all occurred when we weren’t on duty,” said Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin.

With the Beach Patrol cutting back on lifeguards for the final weeks of summer, the month of September might be the most dangerous.

“If they just follow our advice, they’ll go home safe,” Capt. Arbin said.

Lifeguards will still be on duty seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but with less crews. They’re urging people to stay out of the water unless they’re on-duty.

The drowning is Ocean City’s first this summer, compared to three last year.


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