Teen Swept Away in Gulf Waters After Father Lost Grip

Gary Bai
By Gary Bai
May 26, 2022US News
Teen Swept Away in Gulf Waters After Father Lost Grip
People watch a wave from Hurricane Dennis smash on a breakwall near Orange Beach, Ala., on July 10, 2005. (Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)

A teenager from Baton Rouge was swept away by the unforgiving currents of Orange Beach waters during a birthday trip to the Alabama coast and has not been found.

On the evening of May 21, Tyreke Walker, a teenager from Baton Rouge who had just turned 14 years old three days prior, was swimming in the Gulf waters around Orange Beach before being swept away by the rough currents in the region, reported Fox 10.

Orange Beach Fire Department Chief Michael Kimmerling told NTD that the distressed swimmer call came in at around 5:57 p.m.—just about an hour after the Orange Beach Surf Rescue put out a “double red flag” signal at the beach, which represented that the conditions in the water were “absolutely unsafety for everyone” due to dangerous rip currents and surfs.

“The guards that are in the neighboring public beach access responded to the incident along with our fire department and police units,” the fire chief told NTD in a call. “Our guards are on-scene in just a few minutes.”

“The father had already gotten out of the water along with another,” he described the scene. “We’d be rescuing them both on the sand. She was experiencing water inhalation and was in need of medical attention.”

“The young man was still in the surf,” Kimmerling continued, referring to the 14-year-old. “While they were in the water to make the rescue, they lost sight of him.”

The father almost had him.

“He’s like ‘I’m sorry, I can’t come back,’” Clint Walker, father of the 14-year-old boy, told FOX 10. “I grabbed him, and I had him, but the water was just pulling us and pulling us.”

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I lost his grip. I kept getting thrown to the bottom of the water, and somehow, I made it to shore, and he didn’t. I just wish I would’ve held on longer,” Walker said.

As hundreds sent their prayers online, the search-and-rescue team worked until midnight on May 21 in rough water conditions. The fire department issued another notice on the morning of May 22, saying their staff resumed their search at around 6:30 a.m., which continued until dark.

The boy has not been found as of Tuesday afternoon, Kimmerling told NTD.

The fire chief cautioned that people need to “know their limits,” as they head to the beach on Memorial Day weekend.

“People need to understand a couple of things. First of all, they need to be familiar with area swimming. They need to actually know their swimming ability. And just because you can swim across the pool does not mean that you can swim long distances in the Gulf,” he said.“You need to understand that there are no walls, there are no ropes, that, you know, that there’s nothing to hold on to when you get out in the Gulf, and you get pulled out.”

“You need to understand what the flag system means, that you always can communicate with the lifeguards there. They will give you instructions, direction, guidance, and assistance,” he continued.

“We always recommend that you swim near a lifeguard, that you watch your children, that you monitor where they’re at, that you know that you understand it’s a dynamic environment out there and that there are lots of things outside of your control,” he said.

“We have a ‘rip current’ education video on our website. We have ‘rip current’ education signs at the accesses to the beach that explain what a rip is, how to recognize it, and how to get out of a rip,” he added.

“So those are all things that you need to keep be cognizant of when you come to the beach here. So you have a good time and go home safe,” he cautioned.

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