SALISBURY — Thousands of people flocked to beaches in Salisbury and Plum Island over the weekend looking for ways to beat the heat as temperatures soared to past 90 degrees for much of the weekend. The massive influx of humanity tested the mettle and stretched the resources of emergency personnel, which responded to several potentially dangerous situations in both communities.
On Saturday afternoon, a 9-year-old girl was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport after suffering a seizure while swimming off Salisbury Beach Reservation.
The 9-year-old was unconscious when pulled out of the water by Salisbury Beach lifeguards and into the reservation’s third parking lot near the jetty just before 1 p.m. that afternoon. The victim didn’t suffer cardiac or respiratory arrest and was conscious at the time she was placed inside an ambulance. No CPR was performed. Hospital officials believe she may have been stung by jellyfish.
A mounted state police unit, assigned to the reservation that day, responded to the scene and another state police trooper escorted the ambulance to Anna Jaques Hospital, according to state police.
Yesterday, a Salisbury Beach Reservation lifeguard said lifeguards haven’t noticed jellyfish around the beaches, saying the water was too cold for them. Despite days of very hot weather, water temperatures were still in the low 50s. By the end of July, water temperatures are expected to climb into the upper 60s.
Less than an hour after the young girl was brought out of the water, another mounted state police unit responded when a person reported to a lifeguard station with symptoms of heat exhaustion and chest pain. The victim was stabilized at the station before being transported to an area hospital. Troopers from the mounted unit were assisted by patrols from the Newbury Barracks.
On Plum Island yesterday afternoon, firefighters responded off 26th Street after nine young swimmers became stranded on a sandbar when the tide turned faster than they anticipated.
Newbury firefighters were at the scene around 3 p.m. watching the swimmers as they back-floated toward shore, guiding them in with whistles. Of pressing concern for rescue officials was the possibility of the swimmers becoming stuck in a rip current between the sandbar and shore, not having the strength to overcome the churning water on their own.
In recent years, sandbars have become more plentiful off the barrier island and are growing rapidly, according to residents and other observers. Massive sandbars are off the southern-most tip of the island, prompting concern that the building sand will clog portions of Ipswich Bay, about a distance of a half-mile or so from Plum Island. Enormous sandbars are also forming off the northern-most tip of Plum Island.
In yesterday’s incident, swimmers misjudged how quickly the tide was returning, effectively cutting them off from the island, a firefighter was overheard saying just after the rescue was complete.
Rain is expected to enter the region by today dropping temperatures into the low 70s, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.