Parents Drown After Getting Caught in Rip Current While Vacationing in Florida with Their 6 Kids

Brian Warter, 51, and Erica Wishard, 48, were "in panic mode" and unable to "swim parallel to the shore," according to authorities

<p>Martin County Sheriff

Martin County Sheriff's Office

A couple from Pennsylvania died after being caught in a rip current at a Florida beach, authorities said.

Brian Warter, 51, and Erica Wishard, 48, were swimming with their children off the coast of Hutchinson Island on Thursday, June 20, when the strong tide swept the couple away from the shore, according to a post from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook.

Warter and Wishard’s two teenagers also were swept out by the current, but they were able to swim out of it and attempted to help their parents — until “it became too dangerous and they were forced to swim ashore,” the sheriff’s office said.

Lifeguards with Martin County Ocean Rescue located the adults and began CPR. The couple was then transported to Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital in Stuart where they were pronounced dead, per the sheriff’s office.

Related: 3 People Injured in 2 Different Shark Attacks at Neighboring Beaches in Florida: ‘This Is an Anomaly’

A Martin County Sheriff’s crisis intervention team deputy assisted the couple’s children throughout the day and evening as they awaited the arrival of other family members traveling to Florida in the wake of the tragedy.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the family is from Chester County, Penn.

The accident occurred at around 1:30 p.m. local time near the Marriott Hutchinson Island hotel, ABC affiliate WPVI-TV reported.

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"Multiple witnesses told our investigators that both the male and female, who are now deceased, got in the ocean, right into a rip current and immediately were pulled from the shore,” Martin County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy John Budensiek told ABC affiliate WPBF-TV. “One of the children of the deceased tried to yell to them instructions on how to swim parallel to the shore, but they were in panic mode and unfortunately went under."

Experts advise anyone caught in a rip current to swim parallel to shore.

Related: Rip Currents Have Killed 65 This Year — What Experts and Victims' Parents Say Beachgoers Should Know

"If you get caught up in a rip current, don't panic,” rip current expert Stephen Leatherman told PEOPLE last year. “Just swim sideways. Swim along the shore, and you'll swim out of the rip current. Anytime you can't touch the bottom, and you're not a good swimmer, or you panic and start fighting the rip, that's when you drown."

Eleven other deaths have been attributed to rip currents so far in 2024, according to the National Weather Service’s data.

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