National Weather Service official drowns in Duck

By on October 2, 2019

At 4:22pm on Monday, September 30, 2019, emergency services were called to the Pelican Way beach access in the Sanderling area of the Town of Duck for a swimmer that was no longer visible from the beach.

An ocean rescue supervisor who was off duty but in the area saw what he thought to be a swimmer in distress and alerted emergency services. Lifeguards on patrol responded within minutes upon receiving the call and pulled an unresponsive 58-year-old male from the water.

Duck Surf Rescue, Duck Fire and Police, and Dare County EMS initiated CPR and other life-saving measures immediately. Despite these efforts, at 5:00pm Dare County EMS, under the authority of medical control, pronounced the individual dead on scene. While the exact factors that caused the death are unknown, Monday’s surf conditions and a rip current in the area were likely a factor.

The deceased is identified as Dr. William Lapenta who is the director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

Gallop Funeral home is handling arrangements for the family.

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