WILDWOOD _ Lifeguards are used to being called in for after-hours rescues on hot summer days but on Saturday morning the save came before the beaches were even open.

The call came in at 9:50 a.m. that four people were drowning in the surf off Spicer Avenue.

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“The lifeguards were heading to their stands for the 10 o’clock start and they responded to calls for help on the beach and recognized four victims in distress,” said Beach Patrol Chief Steve Stocks.

About 10 lifeguards responded, pulling the victims, including three males and one female, all members of the same family, to shore. One of the victims was unconscious.

“A lifeguard on scene performed CPR on the unconscious victim and he regained consciousness on the beach. All four victims were transported to the hospital,” said Stocks.

It was a sunny morning with little wind and a flat sea but such conditions do not mean there aren’t rip currents. Stocks said after-hours rescues are common but they do get a few before-hours emergencies every summer. Stocks said 10 minutes earlier and it could have been a different ending.

“The catch-all is swim when lifeguards are on duty,” said Stocks.

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35 years with The Press of Atlantic City, the Asbury Park Press and other newspapers.

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