Second tourist has died in the waters off NC’s Outer Banks within 24 hours, park says

For the second time in less than 24 hours, a tourist has died in waters off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, according to the National Park Service.

The latest incident involved a man from Hillsboro, Ohio, who died Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the park said in a news release. His identity was not released.

“At approximately 10:30 a.m. ... a 911 call was placed to report an unresponsive visitor in the ocean off southern Hatteras Island, near off-road vehicle ramp 55,” the park reported.

“Two bystanders shared that the victim was swimming in the ocean when he shouted for help. The bystanders saw the 68-year-old man starting to go under water, when they swam out and pulled him to shore.”

First responders arrived and CPR was unsuccessful, the park said. A cause of death has not been released.

The incident happened less than 24 hours after a woman from Washington, D.C., died off Avon at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the park reported. Her identity has not been released.

“A witness stated that the 28-year-old woman was overtaken by strong waves and disappeared in the surf,” the park reported. “Shortly after disappearing in the surf, the victim was observed face-down in rough ocean conditions.”

First responders were unable to revive her.

Ocean conditions have been hazardous this week due to “large waves and life-threatening rip currents,” park officials said.

“Visitors wading into the surf, even as shallow as waist deep, may be overcome by large waves, suffer injuries, and may be overtaken by rough ocean conditions making it difficult, if not impossible, for all but the strongest, most experienced swimmers to survive,” the park said.

“Even in the calmest conditions, swimming off the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore is much more difficult than swimming in a pool or lake and only the most experienced should consider entering the water. All swimmers should have leashed flotation with them (body board or surfboard) and a friend or family member on the beach to watch them at all times.”

About 100 people are killed by rip currents each year in the U.S., NOAA reports. Lifeguards rescue thousands of people from rip currents annually.

Experts say people can take steps to stay safe from rip currents, including:

  • Check the local water conditions before getting in.

  • Talk to a lifeguard at the beach about the conditions.

  • Only swim at beaches where lifeguards are present.

  • Don’t assume great weather means good swimming conditions.

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