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Swimming Banned At Long Beach Due To Rip Currents As Police Investigate Drowning

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Swimming at Long Beach was closed due to extreme rip currents Tuesday, a day after a swimmer didn't make it out of the water alive.

As CBS2's Ali Bauman reported, there can be up to 120 lifeguards on the beach in a given summer day, and they claim to have made 12 water rescues on Monday alone. But it was a man who went in afterhours who got caught up in the current and could not be saved on Monday.

The National Weather Service said a high rip current risk remains in effect through Tuesday evening at beaches in Brooklyn, southern Queens, southern Nassau and southern Suffolk counties.

"Everyone is still welcome to visit the beach. However, the water is deemed to dangerous for swimming at this time," officials said.

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Yellow flags were set up at Long Beach, indicating that it was open to surfers only. They were put up after Rodolfo Alvarez-Lorenzo, 26, of Brooklyn was pulled out of the rip currents around 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Alvarez-Lorenzo was later pronounced dead.

"He was given CPR immediately as soon as he was on shore to no avail, because he consumed a tremendous amount of water along with the alcohol they consumed," said Long Beach patrol chief lifeguard Paul Gillespie.

Alvarez-Lorenzo and a second man – identified as Helareo Camora – were swimming minutes after lifeguards went off duty. They were spotted by police who called over off-duty lifeguards.

"You've got to listen to the lifeguards," said swimmer Debbie Durben. "When they say don't go swimming, you don't go swimming. You have to respect them"

Waves bouncing off the jetties can be form dangerous rip currents that are hard to spot.

"It came in and then it pulls you out. The water comes out. It has to have some place to go, so it goes out in the stream as wide as 30, a hundred feet wide," Gillespie said.

Lifeguards advised anyone caught up in a current to swim parallel to the shore, and not to try swimming into the current.

"Water's flowing out, so if you want to come in, you can't fight it, so that's the whole idea of ride it out and go to the side where it's not, because it's not everywhere," said beach supervisor John Skudin.

Beach patrol said they will be reevaluating the swimming conditions every two to three hours for the next few days, but expect currents to be strong through Labor Day weekend.

The warning of the strong currents is one officials have been telling swimmers about at beaches across the region this week, CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.

"You'll start walking and all of a sudden it's difficult to walk," said Joe Bongiovanni, Asbury Park Beach safety supervisor. "That's where people make mistake, having trouble walking and take feet off bottom and start to swim it. Unless you're an excellent swimmer, you're not going to swim against that current."

Officials say if you do become caught in a rip current, stay calm and yell for help and if you have to swim out of it, swim parallel to shore.

"The majority of people that come here from Brooklyn and Queens are not really astute to this type of water," Gillespie said.

As a precaution, lifeguards are also urging swimmers to stay closer to shore and to stay in shallow water.

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