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Monday, September 01 2014 @ 03:34 AM EDT

Two Young Adults Missing From Beach in Gorgona

Safety & SecurityTwo young adults who disappeared yesterday from the La Boquilla beach in Gorgona are still missing. People went to the beaches yesterday despite warnings issued by the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) that the beaches along the Pacific coast of Panama would be experiencing extremely high tides of up to 17 feet. The SINAPROC Director Arturo Alvarado said the two missing people are aged 20 and 26 years old. (Dia a Dia)

Editor's Comment: Panama experiences these "extremely high tides" about once a month, corresponding more or less with the full moon. SINAPROC always issues an alert, and it's always ignored. Every year several people are killed along these beaches by rip tides - they get sucked out to sea, panic, and drown. If you're going to be swimming in the Pacific ocean in Panama you should learn how to react to a rip current. Basically, relax, don't fight it, float, wait for it to lose strength, swim parallel to the shore to get out of the current, and then make your way back to the beach. Do not try to swim frantically back towards shore, against the rip tide, because you will just burn off all of your energy, get nowhere, and drown. If you're on the beach and you see someone else getting sucked out towards the open ocean - throw some kind of a flotation device (cooler, beach ball, anything that's handy) into the water after them. Eventually they will probably be able to grab it and float. Do not enter the water to attempt a rescue unless you are a trained and experienced lifeguard with the right equipment - that's why often these victims come in pairs. One gets in trouble, and the second tries to help or rescue. I don't know exactly what happened to these two people, but I suspect they probably fell victim to a rip tide as well.

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