Upstate New Yorker, 75, dies after being caught in rip current off Hatteras

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

A 75-year-old man from upstate New York died Saturday afternoon while swimming without a flotation device off the beach near Hatteras village.

According to a news release from Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the man from Downsville, New York was swimming with a companion when he fell unconscious while trying to escape from a rip current.

The National Weather Service had forecast a moderate risk for all Outer Banks beaches on Saturday, because wind and wave conditions support stronger and more numerous rip currents.

Only experienced surf swimmers should be in the ocean above their knees when a moderate risk is forecast.

The companion swimmer pulled him from the ocean with help from two bystanders, said Cape Hatteras National Seashore Chief Ranger Boone Vandzura.

National Park Service rangers, members of Hatteras Island Ocean Rescue and Dare County Emergency Medical Services responded to the incident.

“The exact cause of death is unknown until a medical examination is performed,” Vandzura said.

This is the third water-related fatality off Cape Hatteras National Seashore this year. There were five fatalities in 2018, seven in 2017, and eight in 2016.

“Our staff offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac.

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