Police issue reminder to beachgoers after girl, 5, rescued on water raft


SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. (WPRI) — Police say a five-year-old girl is unharmed after strong wind blew her water raft hundreds away at a North Shore beach.

Swampscott Police say close to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, a gust of wind at Preston Beach took 5-year-old Cecilia and her float out to sea.

Police say her father swam after her, but the raft was moving too fast for him to catch up.

“It was a pretty harrowing thing for her,” Swampscott Asst. Harbormaster Brendan Reen said.

By the time Reen was able to reach Cecilia by boat, she was 300 to 400 yards off-shore. Officers initially didn’t see her but discovered she was hanging on to the float tightly.

“She told me she cried initially, but the last thing she said was her dad told her was to stay in the boat, and that’s a great reminder for us all to exercise caution and safety when we’re near the water,” Reen said.

Both Cecilia and her father were picked up by rescue boats. Rescue personnel evaluated them at the beach, and they were deemed unharmed.

“When mom arrived, she was very grateful and the child was in great spirits,” Reen said.

While it may seem unusual, Swampscott Harbormaster Lt. Bill Water says this kind of incident with rafts, kayaks, or paddleboards is unfortunately not uncommon.

“When the winds come like this and they go offshore … I’m sure the little girl was close to shore and then all of a sudden, a gust and she’s gone,” Waters said.

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