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Double red flag: Drownings, swim ban mar weekend in Myrtle Beach

Double red flags were posted at 22nd Avenue South in Myrtle Beach on Friday to signal no swimming allowed.
Double red flags were posted at 22nd Avenue South in Myrtle Beach on Friday to signal no swimming allowed. jlee@thesunnews.com

Two vacationers drowned over the last few days in Myrtle Beach, which was part of the reason the city banned all swimming on Saturday.

A double red flag warning was put in place due to drownings and a strong longshore current that has “plagued our coast the last few days,” said Lt. Jonathan Evans with Myrtle Beach Fire Department.

“People should always be cautious when going into the ocean as conditions can change rapidly as the tides change,” Evans said.

There were no warnings on Sunday that banned people from swimming. The National Weather Service reports no hazardous weather is expected this week.

Both drowning victims were vacationing in the area with family, said deputy coroner Michelle McSpadden.

Zerihun Wolde of Silver Spring, Maryland died after being transported to Grand Strand Regional Hospital on Friday, McSpadden said. The incident happened on the beach at 9th Avenue South, she said.

Joe Kapusta, 73, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania died after being transported to Grand Strand on Saturday after an incident at 30th Avenue North, McSpadden said.

Myrtle Beach police is investigating both incidents.

McSpadden said there were also two “medical events” on Friday in Cherry Grove and another near 20th Avenue South in Myrtle Beach. She said the events were not drownings.

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water and can be deadly if you don't know what to do. This video from NOAA Ocean Today shows you how to survive if you are caught in one off the coast.

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong

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