‘I truly do feel very lucky’: Man rescues 17-year-old caught in rip current

A 17-year-old boy says he is lucky to be alive after getting caught in a rip current, thanks to a man that was in the right place at the right time. (SOURCE: WECT)
Published: Jun. 18, 2023 at 1:58 PM CDT
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HOLDEN BEACH, N.C. (WECT/Gray News) - A 17-year-old boy said he is lucky to be alive after he was caught in a rip current. He is now grateful for the man who was in the right place at the right time to rescue him.

When Timothy Turner isn’t riding the waves in Holden Beach, North Carolina, he’s in the sand making sure everyone is safe.

It was a normal day when things took a turn for the worst after two people got caught in a rip current about 50 yards from the shore.

“There are people out there in rip currents. So, I quickly grabbed my board and ran towards the rip currents,” Turner told WECT. “A 17-year-old and probably a 45-year-old out there in the water. And they were out of energy.”

Seth Enzor said he was out in the water when he could feel himself getting pulled under. Five minutes later, he realized he was stuck in a rip current.

“I was still just swimming trying to get out. And at one point, I’ve gotten fairly close to getting back to where I could touch and where I’d be able to get back to shore,” the 17-year-old said. “And I got pulled back under and I’m not sure. I’m not really sure if I passed out or something, but . . . I came back up and I was much further out than where I was. So, it was very scary to know, I wouldn’t be able to get out there alone in any way.”

Enzor said he didn’t know how to get out of the rip current since he didn’t grow up going to the beach.

However, Enzor said he was swimming with a friend that knew how to get out of the current. He said she swam parallel to shore and got out of the water knowing the current was too strong for her to try and help Enzor.

“She started yelling at me about how to swim parallel to the shore . . . It was kind of just with the size of the waves I wasn’t able to, like still even with knowing that I still wasn’t able to really get out,” Enzor said. “She was smart enough to know that this was kind of out of our control and that she had to go get help rather than just trying to get me herself.”

Oak Island Water Rescue Chief Pete Grendze said that anyone going in the water should know what to do in that situation.

“The biggest thing that you can do is not panic. If you’re not a strong swimmer, if you can just float, a lot of times rip current will, once it pops you out, you’ll be able to either traverse along the shoreline and ease your way back in. Get hold of somebody and have them call 911 so you can get the help there,” Grendze said.

Grendze said it’s important for parents of younger children to always pay attention to their kids in the water and to make sure they have life jackets.

He also said swimmers should be aware of what rip currents are and to keep an eye on the current state of the ocean, which can change at a moment’s notice.

Thankfully for Enzor, the incident didn’t scare him but instead taught him a lesson for the next time he comes back to the beach.

“That was a very difficult situation, I don’t think very many people would have been able to save me. I would just like to express my gratitude. Thanks to Mr. Tim again, and how lucky I am for him to be out there,” Enzor said.