Fatal: Rip current pulls out Jensen Beach swimmer - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Fatal: Rip current pulls out Jensen Beach swimmer

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By Jana Eschbach bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

JENSEN BEACH, FL (WFLX) - He was only in the rough water for 10 minutes when friends noticed Phillip Heycock was far away and struggling. Those who tried to save Heycock had to go into that surf to get him out.

"It happens very fast. The ocean is a dangerous place," described Martin County Fire Lt. Bryan Richardson. "The ocean is a powerful force that even the best swimmers don't stand a chance."

The surf turned fatal at Bryn Mawr Beach as 28-year-old Phillip Heycock went under and was pulled out in a rip current.

Richardson, a former lifeguard, dropped his uniform and swam 100 yards out into the rip current to try and save Heycock. "Difficulty in the water can soon turn into panic, and, if you are not thinking rationally, panic can throw all reason out the window. He had been in the water for more than a few minutes, and it took a few minutes for somebody to call us and few for us to respond and minutes - seconds count."

Heycock was lifeless, but brought back to shore. No pulse, no chance of survival. Richardson says he tried everything he could. "It is always frustrating in a situation like that. You always want to do the best and see the best outcome. Unfortunately, it does not happen all the time."

Firefighters are not required to do ocean rescues, for it's too dangerous. But, Richardson says, he never thought of the risk. "Uh, I don't look at it like that. It's part of the job."

Heycock's family in South Stuart they tell us in disbelief. He went to the beach and never came back.

Those deadly rip currents and rough surf expected to continue.

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