Ohio man dies in Atlantic Ocean off Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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A 53-year-old Ohio man died Monday after possibly being caught in a rip current in the Atlantic Ocean near Buxton.

The 911 call went out at 11:49 a.m. for a water rescue less than a mile north of the former location of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

A family member brought the victim, a visitor from Bellbrook, Ohio, back to shore where CPR efforts were initiated by bystanders. The CPR efforts were unsuccessful, Cape Hatteras National Seashore spokesman Mike Barber said in a news release.

National Park Service rangers, Hatteras Island Ocean Rescue, Buxton Volunteer Fire Department, Dare County Emergency Medical Services, and Dare County Sheriff Officers responded to the incident.

The victim was not using a flotation device.

The man’s exact cause of death is unknown until an autopsy is performed.

A high risk of rip currents was forecast for most of the beaches along the seashore today. A high risk of rip currents means that “wind and/or wave conditions support dangerous rip currents. Rip currents are life-threatening to anyone entering the surf,” the news release said.

The incident is the second water-related fatality along the Outer Banks this year. On May 26, a 68-year-old Blacksburg man suffered a cardiac emergency and died after being caught in a rip current in Southern Shores.

It is the first water-related fatality off Cape Hatteras National Seashore this year. There were five fatalities at the seashore in 2018, seven in 2017 and eight in 2016. Along the Outer Banks last year, a total of nine people lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Our staff offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac. “We urge all visitors to be very careful when swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.”

The National Weather Service and local authorities issue daily rip current forecasts for the Outer Banks, as well as text messages about ocean conditions. Sign up by texting “Join OBXBeachConditions” to 30890 to daily for text alerts. For rip current safety information, click here.

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