A terrible tragedy occurred in Stuart, Florida this week as a couple were swept out to sea when they were at the beach.

The Martin County Sheriff's Department officials report that the couple and their six children were vacationing on Hutchinson Island which is near Port St. Lucie when this devastating circumstance unfolded Thursday.

The parents, 51-year-old Brian Warter and 48-year-old Erica Wishard of Pennsylvania were vacationing with their six children at the beach.

The parents and two of the teenage children went out into the water and ended up getting dragged along by a rip current.

Officials say the two teenagers were to break through the rip current, and they tried to get their parents out, but it was just too dangerous.

WPBF 25 News spoke to Martin County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy John Budensiek who told them the following,

Multiple witnesses told our investigator 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. 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. 

Lifeguards were able to pull one of the parents to shore, and that person was unconscious and they began CPR. A short time later the other parent was pulled to shore and again lifesaving measures began.

Martin County Ocean Rescue kept performing CPR on the couple who were then transferred to the hospital, but despite everyone's life-saving efforts, the couple died.

As for the children, officials say deputies with the Crisis Intervention team were staying with and helping the children while they waited Thursday for other relatives to come and be with them.


In 2023, there were multiple deaths in Florida and Alabama due to rip currents.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association explains it is a channeled current. They are very prevalent in areas with a coastline. According to NOAA, some rip currents can move at 8 feet per second which is faster than an Olympic swimmer can move.

If you are stuck in a rip current, they remind you it's imperative not to panic, and to swim parallel to the shore. Don't try to swim into the rip current. Once you are swimming parallel to the shore, then swim to the shore at an angle.

Check out this video from NOAA:

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