Man dies in the ocean in Nags Head; third ocean-related fatality in five days

Rough surf in Kill Devil Hills. [Kari Pugh photo]

A 51-year-old Davidsonville, Maryland man died Thursday afternoon in the Atlantic Ocean off Nags Head, the third ocean-related fatality this week on the Outer Banks.

Nags Head’s police, fire and ocean rescue departments responded to a 911 call at approximately 3 p.m. after receiving a report of a man floating face down in the ocean near the 8300 block of South Old Oregon Inlet Road, the town said in a news release.

Members of Nags Head Ocean Rescue brought the man to the beach where CPR was administered, but the man was later pronounced dead.

The incident is under investigation and the exact cause of death is unknown at this time. The town said red “no swimming” flags were not posted on Nags Head’s beach today. The National Weather Service indicated a high threat of dangerous rip currents for all Outer Banks beaches on Thursday.

“The Town of Nags Head’s thoughts are with the man’s family after this tragic event,” the news release said. “Thank you to Dare County EMS for their assistance with this call.”

The man’s death is the second ocean-related fatality within three days on the Outer Banks, and the third since this weekend.

On Monday, an official with NOAA’s National Weather Service died after being pulled out of the ocean in the Town of Duck. William Lapenta, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, was spotted in the ocean by an off-duty ocean rescue supervisor and pronounced dead on the beach after unsuccessful live-saving measures.

On Saturday, a 75-year-old New York man died after being caught in a rip current off Cape Hatteras, the National Park Service said.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at