LONG BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- With beach season underway and the weather warming up, rescuers in Nassau County had quite the busy day on Thursday after rip currents nearly claimed the lives of a group of teenagers.
Officials say just before 2 p.m.., the teens, who ventured off into the water off Long Beach, were panicking as they found themselves next to the rocks in an area by the jetty that is known to be especially bad for riptides.
To make matter worse, there were no lifeguards on duty.
Fortunately, an emergency crew of lifeguards on patrol were spotted them.
The Long Beach lifeguards, who are currently operating on a skeleton crew schedule on weekdays, are working weekends and happened to be patrolling the beaches when they noticed the young swimmers in distress.
At least 2 ambulances parked near the beach, and a number of local fire departments were also involved in the rescue effort.
"They were in full blown panic," said Richard Borawski, Chief of Long Beach Lifeguards. "Luckily the patrol happened to be there in the right moment. They recognized it, they saw it and they went right into the action."
All five were taken to area hospitals for observation and are expected to be okay.
Long Beach lifeguards are scheduled to be on-duty 7-days a week beginning Saturday, June 24th through Labor Day weekend.
Until then, swimming is prohibited on weekdays.
Long Beach officials stress awareness, saying people need to pay attention to the signage.
This news comes as New York City, along with several cities across the country, face a shortage of lifeguards.
As of last month, there were 280 lifeguards said to be returning to the city's beaches this summer and another 200 recruits in training, but the city needs 1,400 in total.
To entice more the join, the city has also increased pay for lifeguards and will bring back free swimming lessons this summer.
More info can be found here.
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