On Wednesday morning, June 6, a 55-year-old man died while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Resuscitation measures attempted by an unrelated bystander and emergency responders were unsuccessful.
The victim, who visiting from Benson, North Carolina, was first observed on a small sandbar approximately 50 yards from the beach, south of the Frisco Day Use Area.
An unrelated male bystander, after hearing a call for help from the individual’s family, entered the water and attempted to provide assistance. Before the male bystander was able to reach the sandbar, the 55-year-old-male, who did not have a flotation device, was swept away from the sandbar by what may have been a rip current.
The male bystander retrieved the individual after his body returned closer to the shore. Once the male bystander brought the individual back to the beach, an unrelated female bystander attempted compression CPR.
Dare County Emergency Medical Services, Dare County Sheriff’s Office, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, and Seashore Rangers responded to the incident and continued the bystander’s initial resuscitation efforts.
This is the second swimming-related fatality off the Seashore this year, and second within the last four days. There were seven swimming-related fatalities in 2017 and eight in 2016.
“My thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends after this tragic event,” National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac said in a press release.
The waters off seashore beaches often produce powerful waves and dangerous rip currents. The Seashore strongly urges all swimmers to obtain information about rip currents and swimming safety before entering the Atlantic Ocean. Rip current safety information is available at Seashore visitor centers, on its social media accounts, on NOAA's website at ripcurrents.noaa.gov, on the National Weather Service's rip current forecast website at weather.gov/beach/mhx, and on signs located at a number of Seashore parking lots and beach walkways.
The seashore has partnered with multiple local and national agencies to spread public safety messages on social media about ocean safety using the hashtag #LoveTheBeachRespectTheOcean.