Pennsylvania man dies while swimming off Hatteras Island

By on June 3, 2018

A 79-year-old man from Pennsylvania died Sunday afternoon while swimming off Hatteras Island.

According to a National Park Service Chief Ranger Boone Vandzura, the man was spotted floating in the ocean about 30 yards off the north end of Buxton around 2:06 p.m.

A bystander brought the victim to shore and began trying to revive him. Personnel from Dare County EMS, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad and Cape Hatteras National Seashore rangers arrived a few minutes later.

Resuscitation measures continued in an ambulance, but were unsuccessful.

“On behalf of the Seashore, I extend my sympathy to the family and friends of the victim,” said National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac.

This is the first swimming-related fatality off a Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach in 2018. There were seven fatatlies in 2017, and eight in 2016.

“Although rip currents were forecast for the area and the individual was found in the water, the cause of death is unknown at this time,” Vandzura said.

The National Weather Service was calling for a moderate risk of rip currents along all Outer Banks beaches on Sunday, which means wind, wave and tide conditions support the development of stronger or more frequent rip currents.

Many of the most recent swimming-related deaths along the North Carolina coast the last several years have occurred on days when a moderate risk was forecast.

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“Only experienced surf swimmers who know how to escape rip currents should enter the water,” according to advisories from the weather office when they forecast a moderate risk.

If a swimmer is caught in a rip current, don`t try to fight its seaward pull. Move across the current in a direction following the shoreline and then swim back to shore when the current weakens.

Even when the risk is low, rip currents can occur at any time, especially close to piers, jetties and sand bars.

Beachgoers are advised to swim only in areas where there are lifeguards, always have a flotation device with you in the water, and heed the advice about local ocean conditions from lifeguards and beach patrols.

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  • surf123

    I will speculate this was a health related death, probably a heart attack.

    Monday, Jun 4 @ 2:42 pm