Ocracoke waters, while beautiful, can harbor life-threatening rip currents. Photo: C. Leinbach

From our news sources

A 65-year-old man from Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, died this morning while swimming on Ocracoke.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore rangers received a call at 11:15 a.m. regarding a swimmer that had been missing for approximately 15 minutes near the Pony Pen beach.

After arriving at the scene, a ranger spotted the individual face down approximately 60 yards from the beach.

A Seashore lifeguard retrieved the man and brought him to shore.

Rangers, Hyde County Emergency Medical Services staff and good Samaritans administered CPR; however, efforts to revive the man were not successful.

A large rip current was spotted at the site where the swimmer went missing.

The cause of death is unknown until a medical examination is performed.

A moderate risk of rip currents was forecast for all Outer Banks beaches today. That means that “wind and/or wave conditions support stronger or more frequent rip currents. Only experienced surf swimmers should enter the surf on moderate risk days.”

Dave Hallac, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina superintendent, urged beachgoers to “take great caution” while swimming in the Atlantic off Ocracoke, which can be challenging for even the most experienced swimmers.

“Our team at Cape Hatteras National Seashore sends our most sincere condolences to this man’s family following the very sad loss that occurred today off the Seashore’s beach on Ocracoke Island,” he said. “While we don’t know the cause of this tragic event, our staff observed rip currents in the area and moderately rough surf conditions.”

The Day Use Area, locally known as the Lifeguard Beach, has professional lifeguards daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day. For information about rip currents on Ocracoke, see story here.

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