Six swimmers got caught in a rip current on Sunday at New Hampshire’s Seabrook Beach, turning the beach into a dramatic rescue scene, reports The Boston Globe. Unfortunately, husband and wife Michael and Laura Cote were pulled from the water too late and died shortly after being rescued.
Matt Tomaszewski was one of the good Samaritans who jumped into the ocean after watching a sudden rip current pull the swimmers out to sea. Police officers, fire rescuers, and lifeguards were also called to the scene to help in the rescue mission.
Tomaszewski, a 29-year-old former basketball player for Syracuse University, was able to help two people grab onto his paddleboard and pull them to shore. He then returned to the water in search of an unconscious man who he wasn’t able to rescue with the other two swimmers.
He described the experience to WCVB-TV.
“I learned afterwards that the people I helped have three daughters, and I’m a father myself, so when I was running out there, I was thinking about saving as many people as I can. And on my way back in, it was all thinking about my family…It was the toughest thing I’ve ever been through.”
While four of the swimmers were rescued and brought safely to shore, 49-year-old Michael Cote and 47-year-old Laura Cote, of Methuen, Massachusetts, were removed separately from the water, both of them unconscious. First responders attempted to revive Michael with CPR on shore before he was brought to a hospital alongside his wife. Michael was pronounced dead on Sunday while Laura passed away Monday morning.
A memorial service was held for the Cotes on Monday at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Michael Tompkins, a deacon at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, knew the family well and described them as “good people to be with, very special people.” He added, “they will be sorely missed here at the parish,” writes The Boston Globe.
Michael’s father, Richard Cote, spoke about his shock at his home in Methuen, saying that the family’s faith was helping them grieve.
“We lost two good people yesterday. They were nice people who would do anything for you.”
John Jensenius, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that Seabrook Beach was at a low risk for rip currents on Sunday, although the water was choppy.
“It was not a day when we were expecting really strong rip currents in the area,” The Boston Globe cites him.