The Ocracoke surf. Photo: C. Leinbach

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The National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City has issued a beach hazard statement warning of a high threat of rip currents in effect from Friday morning through Friday evening from Rodanthe to Cape Lookout. The threat is due to a southeasterly swell combined with southwesterly winds and high astronomical tides. 

Yesterday, (Thursday), the U.S. Coast Guard searched all afternoon for a missing swimmer off the Pine Island section of Corolla in Dare County.  

The 30-year-old male was seen by his wife and friend going underwater and not resurfacing at approximately 12:45 p.m. Sent to help search were a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and a life boat from the Oregon Inlet station.

The Outer Banks Voice reported that lifeguards with Corolla Ocean Rescue along with personnel from Corolla Volunteer Fire Department, Currituck County Fire and EMS and the Currituck Sheriff’s Office began an immediate search of the water, according to Currituck Fire and EMS deputy chief Tim Riley.

Currituck authorities suspended their portion of the search at 7:45 p.m., and planned to resume at daylight. The Coast Guard helicopters and watercraft planned to continue until at least 9:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, the National Park Service, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, Dare County EMS and the Dare County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of CPR in progress on an adult male on the beach in Frisco. The 43-year-old man from out-of-state, was pulled from the ocean by bystanders and CPR was initiated. Dare County EMS and Hatteras Island Rescue Squad were unable to revive him, the NPS said in a press release.

Rip currents are present all along the Outer Banks waters.  In June, a teen-aged Thailand boy drowned in a rip current off the Frisco beach.

According to the National Weather Service, the most likely time for strong rip currents to occur is a couple of hours either side of low tide, which will occur around 3 p.m. today (Friday). For information about the alert from NOAA, click here.

To read Observer stories about rip currents, click here  and here.

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