Harrison County

After 4 rescues in two hours, DMR urges water safety

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALDDMR Marine Patrol Chief Keith Davis, along with other officials, urge South Mississippi residents to be safe when heading offshore.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALDDMR Marine Patrol Chief Keith Davis, along with other officials, urge South Mississippi residents to be safe when heading offshore. SUN HERALD

BILOXI -- Department of Marine Resources officials rescued four people from South Mississippi waters in just over an hour on Saturday, and the department asks residents to take proper safety precautions before heading offshore.

DMR officers rescued two 15-year-olds about 3:30 p.m. after their catamaran flipped over near Front Beach in Ocean Springs, DMR spokesperson Melissa Scallan said. Both were wearing life jackets.

Minutes later, at 3:55 p.m., DMR responded to a distress call that three kayakers had flipped over just south of Arbor Station Apartments in Long Beach. One person was found clinging to a kayak three miles from the beach.

"Three miles out is far," Scallan said. "The waves definitely had something to do with where they were found," Scallan said.

The kayakers told officers they weren't sure how much longer they could have survived -- they were not wearing life jackets.

As the weather starts to get warmer and more people start to participate in activities on the water, Scallan said Coastians should remember to check the weather and bring with safety equipment that could save a life.

There was a small craft advisory on Saturday at the time of the four rescues, and it was extended until 7 a.m. Monday. The National Weather Service advised Sunday there were 3- to 5-foot waves in the Mississippi Sound and 6- to 10-foot waves in open waters.

"Seas were rough on Saturday," she said. "We just advise people to look at the weather before they go out."

DMR Patrol Chief Keith Davis said in a release Saturday that checking the weather is paramount before going out on the water.

"We saved these people, but we want to warn everyone to use caution when there are warnings issued," he said. "Even though the beaches may seem calm, the water can be rough. We also want to remind everyone of the importance of wearing life jackets whenever they are on the water."

The two teens rescued in Ocean Springs were not injured, and Scallan said two kayakers were treated for mild hypothermia by American Medical Response personnel.

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