Teen swimmer rescued at Emerald Isle to be taken off life support

Paige Merical [Photo courtesy GoFundMe]

A Wake Forest teen rescued from rip currents at Emerald Isle last week is brain dead and will be taken off life support Saturday, her father said in a public Facebook post.

“I wish I had good news for everyone,” John Merical wrote Wednesday night. “Paige fought a tough fight, but her brain was too severely damaged.

“We get to love on my baby for the next few days, with organ donation Saturday.”

Paige, 17, and her friend, 18-year-old Ian Lewis, were swimming at Emerald Isle when they were caught in a rip current Friday afternoon. Paige was rescued and has been in the ICU at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville ever since.

Ian’s body was found Sunday.

Paige’s family said they prayed for a miracle, but have now decided she will “live on through others.”

Paige was a big supporter of organ donation, her father said, and the family asks that others consider becoming donors.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help her family with expenses.

Last year, nine people drowned along Outer Banks beaches, including 4-year-old Wesley Belisle, who was walking with his mom on the beach in Kitty Hawk April 25, one year ago today, when they were both knocked down by a wave. Wesley’s body was found five days later in Carova.

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You can learn more about rip currents at weather.gov/beach/mhx

About Kari Pugh 1070 Articles
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