They happen here, multiple times a year. There was another on Nov 18. Body of missing Canadian found on Cancun beach - The Yucatan Times The beaches on the Caribbean side often have strong currents when the wind and waves are up. As the surf gathers to rush the shore again strong outward flows of water pull swimmers further out than they may have intended to be. The natural response (which has to be countered) is to swim strongly for shore, against this rush of water. Of course, the swimmer makes no progress towards shore but exhausts himself trying. I personally saw a near drowning under these exact circumstances. The limp body of a swimmer was pulled from the water and, fortunately, his rescuers were able to revive him after a few minutes. I met another man as he was being discharged from a local hospital after ten days in intensive care. He had incurred a hospital bill of around 70,000 USD, in part because of the very expensive treatments required afterward. He had been snorkeling in windy conditions and a wave washed over the top of his snorkel, causing him to inhale water and begin to lose control. He told me he'd been pulled from the bottom to which he had sunk, unconscious, in about 12 feet of water, his lungs filled with water. In the first instance, of being pulled out to shore, dealing with this requires great presence of mind. First, don't try to swim for shore immediately; instead, let yourself go with the flow. It will diminish, then stop, with the next large wave coming in. Then, there are two things you need to take advantage of at this point. 1) you will have had time to see which way the current carried you- either up, or down the beach. You will not want to fight this flow, either, which means when you reach shore you will not arrive back at the point you started, but the difference will not be more than 25 yards or so, either way. 2) Swimming straight towards the shore, without fighting that current running up or down the beach, you will swim at a comfortable pace for you, so as to not to tire yourself. Just occasionally you'll be able to "catch a wave" that can aid you in your progress. It is unlikely it will take more than three to five minutes to reach shore and you'll be able to do so without putting yourself at further risk. In the second instance, never snorkel in conditions of high wind and waves. Cancun is a great place to visit and have fun: it is not a great place to die, so be careful and have a good time.