Lifeguards warn Labor Day weekend will be dangerous

By: Zohreen Adamjee

More than a million people are expected throughout L.A. County beaches this Labor Day weekend. Lifeguards say it's going to be a dangerous one with rip currents even more powerful than last weekend, when they rescued more than 900 people at beaches throughout the county.

"We could have the perfect storm this weekend of warm weather, warm water, a holiday weekend and large waves creating a dangerous current," said Lifeguard Captain Jeff Horn.

A swell generated by a storm near New Zealand is headed in the L.A. area. The National Weather Service issued a beach hazard statement, saying the surf is expected to build Saturday. In certain areas, it will likely reach 3-6 feet and continue to grow Sunday and Monday, possibly up to 7 feet.

Rip currents are also expected.

Some beach-goers are especially fearful after what they heard happened Thursday night in Venice. A man in his 20's was swimming with friends when a powerful rip current swept him away.

Friends reported him missing, but by the time he was found, it was too late.

He died at a nearby hospital.

Some parents fear what could happen to their own this weekend.

Beach-goer John Griggs says he's not allowing his teenage daughter to go into the water past her waist this weekend.

"Even I bring my fin. you get down there and there's not a lot of buoyancy. You can't sit there and paddle. It's like quick sand," said Griggs.

But what many fear, others are drawn to.

Surfer Peter Gentry looks forward to the swell but warns of what to do if caught in a rip current.

"You should never swim against it, you should swim to the side, in the north or south. You should never swim straight into it. Mother Nature always wins that battle," said Gentry.

Lifeguards are especially worried about Zuma Beach, Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach Labor Day weekend. They're warning all beach-goers to be careful though.

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