Coast Guard suspends search for missing swimmer
Published 11:29 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2019
At 9:17 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, a 60-year-old male ocean swimmer was reported missing near Oregon Inlet. The Coast Guard and other federal, state and local agencies searched throughout the day for the man, who was visiting the area from Raleigh. The Coast Guard suspended their search Wednesday night after saturating the search area with multiple assets and other agencies.
The man’s girlfriend told Dare County 911 that he had gone out on a boogie board to swim in the inlet Wednesday morning, but he did not return. He started his swim approximately three quarters of a mile south of off-road vehicle ramp 4. Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet boat crews were launched alongside an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City.The boogie board was later found in the water between the remaining section of the Bonner Bridge and the Marc Basnight Bridge.
Coast Guard crews worked alongside Dare County, North Carolina Parks Service, Cape Hatteras National Seashore park rangers, Fish and Wildlife Service and North Carolina Marine Patrol to search for the swimmer. Coast Guard search operations were conducted for sixteen and a half hours. The search area covered over 43 nautical miles. National Park Service rangers will continue searching over the next several days via increased shoreline patrols.
“It’s especially busy as we begin the 4th of July weekend and it’s very important to be mindful of your environment and wear your life jacket as you head out on the water,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Dempsey, a search and rescue coordinator at the Coast Guard’s 5th District in Portsmouth, Virginia. “In the region, there have been at least six deaths of people not wearing life jackets in the past week.”
“We are grateful for the exceptional assistance we received from the United States Coast Guard, North Carolina Marine Patrol and the Fish and Wildlife Service,” stated National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitors are encouraged to call 252-473-3444 to report any information that could help locate the missing swimmer.