Video: Zachary Kingsbury fled Surf City police on foot, then attempted to swim out to sea, getting nearly a mile out. This is drone footage from SCPD. In the bottom right hand corner, you can see the shark trailing Kingsbury.
SURF CITY — A traffic stop turned into a multi-agency sea rescue after a suspect misguidedly attempted to elude police officers by taking to the open ocean.
On Wednesday afternoon at around 4:15 p.m., Surf City police officers stopped 20-year-old Zachary Kingsbury. Police spotted contraband in Kingsbury’s vehicle and asked the young man, who hails from Lynnwood, Washington, to step out of his vehicle. Shortly after police began interviewing him, Kingsburgy took off on foot, heading towards the beach.
As Surf City Police watched, Kingsbury continued running into the ocean and began swimming away from shore. Police deployed a drone and were able to track Kingsbury for some time.
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At one point in the drone footage, provided by the Surf City Police Department, a shark can clearly be seen following Kingsbury through the water. At this point, Kingsbury had been swimming for nearly an hour an was more than 4,000 feet – the better part of a mile – off the coast.
That’s when, according to Surf City Police Chief Ron Shanadan, the chase “became a rescue operation.”
Video: Zachary Kingsbury takes a break from swimming to gauge his distance from shore — about a mile. (Courtesy Surf City Police Department)
Pender County emergency crews were dispatched, including a Fire Marine unit. The U.S. Coast Guard was also called in to deploy boat rescue and aerial units. Surf City’s Fire Department and police from neighboring Topsail Beach also joined the operation.
After a nearly two-hour search, Kingsbury was taken into custody around 7:45 p.m. in North Topsail Beach.
He was arrested and transported to the Pender County Jail. Kingsbury was charged with resisting arrest and possession of marijuana and methamphetamine. He is being held on a $20,000 bond.
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