UPDATED: Coast Guard suspends search for teacher missing after rescuing student near Sandbridge

Map of Coast Guard search grid. [USCG image]

The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday afternoon called off the search for a 35-year-old teacher who went missing after trying to save a student from a rip current Tuesday near Little Island State Park in Virginia Beach.

The Coast Guard initially received the report of the missing man from Virginia Beach dispatch at approximately 1 p.m. Crews from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and Coast Guard Station Little Creek searched a total of 347 square miles.

Personnel from the Virginia Beach Fire Department, Virginia Beach Police Helicopter, Virginia Beach Police Department, Virginia Marine Resource Commission, Virginia Marine Police, National Parks Service and the False Cape State Park also participated in the search efforts on shore, air and sea.

“We never make the decision to suspend lightly and in this particular case, it’s especially difficult,” said Capt. Kevin Carroll, commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. “We share our deepest sympathies with the family of a man who risked his own life to save another.”

The teacher and his students were on a school field trip when a 13-year-old child got caught in an apparent rip current. The Coast Guard said the teacher rescued the student, who made it to shore and was treated at a local hospital.

The incident is the second apparent drowning in the area since July 3, when 60-year-old John Carmichael “Michael” Healy of Raleigh disappeared while swimming near Oregon Inlet.


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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