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Man dies swimming in Frisco; second fatality in four days

A 55-year-old man died this morning while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the second swimming-related fatality in four days.

The man, who was visiting from Benson, was first seen on a small sandbar about 50 yards from the beach in the Frisco Day Use Area, the seashore said in a news release. Authorities received the 911 call at 10 a.m.

A bystander, after hearing a call for help from the man’s family, went into the water and attempted to help. But before he could reach the sandbar, the victim was swept away by what might have been a rip current, the release said. The man did not have a flotation device.

The bystander was able to reach the victim once “his body returned closer to the shore.” Once the bystander brought the individual back to the beach, another bystander attempted compression CPR.

Dare County Emergency Medical Services, Dare County Sheriff’s Office, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, and seashore rangers responded and continued resuscitation efforts, but the man died. He has not been publicly identified.

The incident follows the Sunday death of a 79-year-old man found floating in the ocean near Buxton Sunday afternoon, and is the third ocean-related death along the Outer Banks this year. In April, 4-year-old Wesley Belisle of New Hampshire was swept away while walking on the beach in Kitty Hawk with his mom.

On Cape Hatteras National Seashore, there were seven swimming-related fatalities in 2017 and eight in 2016.

Park service officials say they are worried about the number of fatalities so early this season. The seashore is working with Dare County and town officials on a new region-wide hashtag safety campaign “#LoveTheBeachRespectTheOcean.” The Atlantic Ocean on the Outer Banks often produces powerful waves and dangerous rip currents, and plenty of information about ocean safety is available at ripcurrents.noaa.gov and weather.gov/beach.

“Every day is a good day to go to the beach, but some days aren’t day to go into the ocean,” said National Park Service spokesman Boone Vandzura.

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