Search continues for swimmer missing off Carolina Beach

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A Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue ATV in front of Lifeguard Stand 19 by the Boardwalk, one of the busiest access points in Carolina Beach. Photo by Hannah Leyva.
A Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue ATV in front of Lifeguard Stand 19 by the Boardwalk, one of the busiest access points in Carolina Beach. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

A swimmer is missing off the coast of Carolina Beach, according to the Carolina Beach Police Department.

A police spokesman said the CBPD and Carolina Beach Fire Department received a call after 7 p.m. Saturday of a swimmer in distress near the Harper Avenue access. The swimmer, identified by police as a 21-year-old James Cameron from Graham, North Carolina. He is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and 160 pounds and was wearing red, white and blue swim trunks.

Carolina Beach Fire Chief Alan Griffin said lifeguards had already gotten off duty when the call came in, but were still nearby.

“They were off duty for about 45 minutes, but they were still at the sub station [at the boardwalk] cleaning up equipment, so we were able to summon about six guards out there real quick,” Griffin said. “Plus we were able to respond with other fire crews and guys on jet skis.”

According to Chief Griffin and CBPD Det. Scott Hettinger, the two town departments were joined immediately by county fire crews and the United States Coast Guard in their search. As of noon Sunday, personnel on land and in boats are continuing to search the water, and a USCG helicopter is searching from the air.

“We are still searching and doing what we can,” Hettinger said.