So very sad. For those that haven't already heard this, another self saving technique is just to float (please see link below). Often times folks that are caught in a rip current, not knowing they were in one, have already exhausted themselves. Or, they are already so panicked, swimming parallel to the shore further exhausts them and they cannot sustain their breathing above the water line.
A good practice (for those that haven't gotten comfortable spotting a rip) is to, while still waist deep or so, allow your feet to come off the ocean sand - if you feel your feet moving oceanward, you may just be in a rip - fully stand and walk to shore/parallel to the beach.
Last $.02, folks in peril don't wave their arms and call for help - they are already exhausted and just trying to get their mouth/nose above the water line - watch (I know, this may sound weird) their hair line. If their hair is down in their face and they are not trying to clear it and they are relatively motionless in the water - it's very possible they are about to go under.
Be careful out there and be vigilant!