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Two people die swimming off Cape Hatteras

CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. – Two people died Wednesday while swimming near Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

According to the National Park Service, the first call came in at 10 a.m. The 55-year-old man, who was visiting from Benson, North Carolina, was first seen on a small sandbar approximately 50 yards from the beach south of the Frisco Day Use Area.

Officials say a man went into the water and tried to provide assistance after hearing a call for help from the victim’s family. Before the bystander was able to reach the sandbar, the victim was swept away from what may have been a rip current. He did not have a flotation device, according to the NPS.

The bystander then retrieved the victim after his body got closer to the shore. Once the victim was brought back onto the beach, a female bystander tried to perform CPR on the victim.

Officials with Dare County Emergency Medical Services, Dare County Sheriff’s Office, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad and Seashore Rangers responded to the scene and continued resuscitation efforts, which were unsuccessful.

The second incident happened at 4:47 p.m. Officials say a 55-year-old man visiting from North Brookfield, Massachussetts, was found floating three feed from the shore near Ramp 70 on Ocracoke Island. He also did not have a flotation device.

Bystanders found the victim after answering a family member’s call for assistance. The family member also called 911.

A bystander immediately performed CPR after the man was brought back onto the beach. Authorities then continued the initial resuscitation efforts, which were also unsuccessful.

The NPS says this is the third swimming-related fatality off the Seashore this year, the second today and the third within the last four days. According to authorities, there were seven swimming-related deaths in 2017 and eight in 2016.

“Today has been a very hard day at Cape Hatteras National Seashore,” said National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac. “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.”

In the wake of these tragic incidents, authorities are reminding beachgoers that the waters off Seashore beaches often produce powerful waves and dangerous rip currents. More information about rip currents and swimming safety may be found here.