Powells Point man drowns trying to rescue girlfriend’s sons

Published 9:46 am Friday, July 20, 2018

A Powells Point man died Thursday night after attempting to rescue his girlfriend’s sons from rough currents in the Atlantic Ocean near Kitty Hawk Pier.

Southern Shores police were called to the area of Pelican Watch just north of the pier at 8:12 p.m., for a report of three young men unable to get back to shore.

“When officers arrived, they found that three young males, a 19-, 14- and 12-year-old had gone swimming in the ocean from Kitty Hawk Pier,” Southern Shores police Chief David Kole said in a news release. The ocean had pulled them out about 75 feet and the boys began screaming for help. The 12-year-old was pulled even further out.

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The victim, 32-year-old Kenny Ray Gooch, immediately went into the water to help the 12-year-old, Kole said. At the same time, two bystanders jumped in to help as well.

The victim was pulled out past the 12-year-old and disappeared from sight.

The 19- and 14-year-old boys made it back to shore on their own, and the two bystanders were able to help the 12-year-old out of the water.

Ocean rescue assisted in finding Gooch in the water, brought him back to shore and immediately began CPR. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

“The Southern Shores Police Department sends its thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the victim and a sincere thank you for all those that assisted in this unfortunate incident,” Kole said.

The death is the eighth ocean-related fatality on the Outer Banks this year and the third in July alone.