Philadelphia-area man dies while swimming off the Outer Banks

Pony Pens beach is located six miles north of Ocracoke village. [photo courtesy Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer]

A 65-year-old man from the Philadelphia-area died Sunday morning while swimming off Ocracoke Island near where a large rip current was spotted.

A National Park Service Ranger found the man at 11:30 a.m., about 15 minutes after he had been reported missing near the Pony Pen beach access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, according to National Parks of Eastern North Carolina spokesperson Mike Barber.

The victim from Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, was spotted floating face down approximately 60 yards off the beach. A Cape Hatteras National Seashore lifeguard retrieved the man and brought him to shore.

Park Rangers, Hyde County Emergency Medical Services staff and Good Samaritans administered lifesaving measures include CPR, but the efforts were not successful.

The cause of death is unknown until a medical examination is performed.

A moderate risk of rip currents continues for all Outer Banks beaches today, which means that wind and/or wave conditions support stronger or more frequent rip currents and only experienced surf swimmers should enter the ocean.

A high risk has been forecast by the National Weather Service for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands on Monday.

“Our team at Cape Hatteras National Seashore sends our most sincere condolences to this man’s family following the very sad loss that occurred today off the Seashore’s beach on Ocracoke Island,” said National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac.

“While we don’t know the cause of this tragic event, our staff observed rip currents in the area and moderately rough surf conditions,” Hallac said. “We strongly urge swimmers to take great caution when entering the Atlantic Ocean where swimming can be challenging for even the most experienced swimmers.”

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