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Massachusetts man dies Wednesday in surf near Ramp 70

The entrance to Ramp 70 on Ocracoke has rip current information posted. Photo: C. Leinbach

A 55-year-old North Brookfield, Massachusetts, man died Wednesday while swimming near Ramp 70 here.

It was the second fatality yesterday and the third in the last five days along the Outer Banks, said Boone Vandzura, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Chief Ranger in a press release.

Earlier Wednesday, around 10 a.m., a 55-year-old Benson, N.C., man died while swimming in Frisco. The Ocracoke visitor died in the late afternoon, Vandzura said.

The 911 call was received at 4:47 p.m.

Bystanders discovered the man in the water and after the man was brought to the beach, a bystander performed CPR, Vandzura said.

Ocracoke Emergency Medical Services, Hyde County Sheriff’s Office, Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, National Park Service Surf Rescue Lifeguards and Seashore rangers responded to the incident and continued the bystander’s initial resuscitation efforts but were unsuccessful.

The first swimming fatality in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore occurred June 3 when a 79-year-old Pennsylvania man died while swimming in Buxton, Dare County. None of the men were wearing flotation devices.

“Today has been a very hard day at Cape Hatteras National Seashore,” said David E. Hallac, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina superintendent. “Our staff offer our sincere condolences for the loss of two visitors. We urge everyone to be very careful when swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.”

There were seven swimming-related fatalities along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in 2017 and eight in 2016.

Being farther out in the ocean, the waters off the Outer Banks often produce powerful waves and dangerous rip currents.  Seashore officials strongly urge all swimmers to obtain information about rip currents and swimming safety before entering the Atlantic Ocean.

The Day Use/Lifeguard Beach on Ocracoke is staffed with lifeguards 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

For an Observer story about the surf on Ocracoke, click here.

Rip current safety information is available at Seashore visitor centers, on its social media accounts, on NOAA’s website here: http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/, on the National Weather Service’s rip current forecast website here: http://www.weather.gov/beach/mhx, and on signs located at a number of Seashore parking lots and beach walkways.

In addition, 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.

 

The June waters off Ocracoke, NC, can still be rough and dangerous. Photo: C. Leinbach

The June waters off Ocracoke can still be rough and dangerous. Photo: C. Leinbach