UPDATED: Coast Guard suspends search for missing swimmer near Oregon Inlet

The Coast Guard and state agencies searching Wednesday morning for a missing swimmer near Oregon Inlet. [Sam Walker photo]

The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday night suspended its search for a 60-year-old Raleigh man who went missing while swimming near Oregon Inlet this morning.

Authorities got the call for a missing person at 9:17 a.m. The man, who was staying at Oregon Inlet Campground, started his swim on a boogie board approximately three-quarters of a mile south of off-road vehicle ramp 4, the National Park Service said in a news release.

The boggie board was later found in the water between the remaining section of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge and the Marc Basnight Bridge.

The U.S. Coast Guard, North Carolina Marine Patrol, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore rangers searched for the man for 16 and a half hours, covering more than 43 nautical miles. Search efforts were suspended this evening.

National Park Service rangers will continue searching over the next several days via increased shoreline patrols.

The National Weather Service issued a moderate risk of rip currents for the south-facing beaches of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands Wednesday, but the risk of rip currents was low at Oregon Inlet.

There was surf of around two feet and a minimal current flowing parallel to the beach at the time of the man’s disappearance, which happened about a half hour after high tide.

So far this year, there have been two water-related fatalities along the Outer Banks. On May 26, a 68-year-old Blacksburg man suffered a cardiac emergency and died after being caught in a suspected rip current in Southern Shores. And on June 10, a 53-year-old Ohio man died after possibly being caught in a rip current near Buxton.

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.

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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 [email protected]