The ocean is stronger off the Outer banks and rip current information is posted at all entrances to Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches. Visitors are urged to learn about rip currents before entering the water. Photo: C. Leinbach

A 48-year-old New York man died Thursday afternoon while swimming in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Avon.

The Sayville, N.Y., visitor was part of a multi-person water rescue, the National Park Service reported in a press release. At least six people were brought back to the beach after the 3:28 p.m. 911 call, according to the National Park Service. When the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad arrived, they saw “multiple groups of swimmers in distress,” an NPS statement said.

The rescue squad sent two jet skis into the surf to bring the swimmers back to the beach. A bystander with a surfboard brought one person to shore.

The New York visitor received CPR on the beach by the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, but efforts were unsuccessful. He was the only fatality during this incident.  None of the swimmers were using flotation devices, the NPS reported.

Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, Dare County Emergency Medical Services, Dare County Sheriff’s Office, and National Park Service Rangers all responded to the incident.

This is the fourth swimming-related fatality off the Seashore this year, including one on Ocracoke. There were seven swimming-related fatalities in 2017 and eight in 2016.
“We extend our sympathy to the victim’s family. This tragic event is a very sad reminder of the dangers posed by rip currents,” said Park Service superintendent David E. Hallac.

There was a moderate risk of rip currents near the Avon at that time.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) considers a moderate risk to mean that “wind, wave, and tide conditions support the development of stronger or more frequent rip currents along the beaches. Only experienced surf swimmers who know how to escape rip currents should enter the water.”


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