Two people have died in waters off the coast of the Outer Banks, North Carolina, according to officials. Both deaths took place within 24 hours of each other.
The first death took place on Sept. 4, when a 28-year-old woman was “overtaken by strong waves” in waters at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. A witness said the woman disappeared in the surf before being observed face-down in “rough ocean conditions,” according to the National Park Service. Emergency responders and two bystanders responded to the woman, with the two bystanders bringing the woman to shore. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.
The second death occurred the morning of Sept. 5, again at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The 68-year-old man was swimming in the ocean off southern Hatteras Island, the National Park Service said in a news release. Bystanders saw the man start to go under water, and they were able to reach him and pull him to shore, but when emergency responders arrived on the scene, resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.
On both days, the ocean conditions in the area warned about rip currents, which kill about 100 people a year in the United States. A beach hazards statement was also in effect at Hatteras Island, the National Park Service said, with warnings about large breaking waves in the surf zone.
“The (Cape Hatteras National Seashore) sends condolences to the families and friends of the swimmers that lost their lives over the last two days,” said David Hallac, the superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, in the news release announcing the second swimmer’s death.
Hallac warned that “high-energy surf conditions” like large waves and rip currents will continue to be present in the area all week. Hallac warned that visitors should avoid wading into even shallow water because the large waves and ocean conditions can pose risks and make it “difficult, if not impossible, for all but the strongest, most experienced swimmers to survive.” Many surfers in the area are strong, competitive athletes, Hallac said.
Swimmers should have a floatation device, like a bodyboard or surfboard, with them at all times, and a friend or family member on the beach to watch them, Hallac said. Most swimmers should consider “spending time on a sound-side beach at the Seashore, including locations such as the Haulover, Salvo, and Devil Shoals Road sound access sites for a safer opportunity to enjoy the water when hazardous ocean conditions are present.”