MADEIRA BEACH – Two swimmers found themselves in need of help Thursday evening after they were unable to get back to the beach due to higher than normal surf and rip currents.
Abby Woolridge, 21, of Isanti, Minnesota; her brother, Roy Morlan, 33 of Seminole; and her boyfriend Jacob Jusczak, 21, also of Isanti went for a swim off South Beach. They went out past the buoys just north of the John’s pass entrance when Woolridge and Morlan began to have trouble swimming back to the beach. Jusczak was able to swim back to shore, and he flagged someone down for help and asked them to call 911.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call for help about 6:11 p.m. May 15, as did the Madeira Beach, Pinellas Suncoast, Treasure Island and Seminole fire rescues.
Deputies said Madeira Beach Fire Rescue personnel reached Woolridge first on a paddle board about 200 yards offshore and held on to her until the Sheriff’s Marine Unit picked her up and transported her to Don’s Dock.
She was treated on scene and then transported to a local hospital as a precaution. Deputies said she was exhausted and had swallowed water.
Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue used an inflatable boat to get to Morlan who was about 300 yards offshore. He was returned to South Beach where he was treated and released on scene.