Sunday, June 23, 2024

Swimmer perishes on Oak Island, rescue teams deal with blocked beach access

Oak Island Water Rescue and other emergency crews responded to a swimmer being rescued from the ocean on Saturday at 2 p.m. The man perished according to the emergency crews, which also had trouble getting through the packed beach accesses as bystanders performed CPR on the visitor. (Courtesy photo)

OAK ISLAND — During a busy Memorial Day weekend on Oak Island, emergency crews are reporting one swimmer passed away despite life-resuscitation efforts.

We do not know if that tragic loss of life was rip-current related,” Oak Island Water Rescue (OIWR) released on its social media.

Yellow flags were flying, indicating moderate risk, at the time the male swimmer was retrieved from the water.

Multiple agencies, including fire, police and EMS, coordinated response after a 911 call came in Saturday around 2 p.m. Though, it wasn’t an easy task for the emergency teams to get to the victim.

According to Oak Island Water Rescue, the W. 23rd Street beach access was full. While no vehicles were illegally parked, larger vehicles — trucks and SUVs — extended into access points and prevented the fire department’s wide, paramedic-equipped engine from getting through.

“Fortunately we were able to use a different beach access, without a delay in response, to make our way into the beach. That beach access was almost blocked with parked vehicles as well,” a social media post noted.

Accesses that emergency vehicles often utilize on the island include:

  • McGlamery Street
  • Trott Street
  • Barbee Street
  • Crowell Street
  • SE 76th, 72nd, 70th, 64th and 63rd streets
  • E. Beach and 52nd, as well as 49th, 35th, 32nd, 29th, 25th, 16th, 9th and 3rd streets
  • W. Beach and 5th, as well as 10th, 23rd, 48th and End streets

“Please understand that keeping emergency beach access routes open is a priority for both OIWR and [Oak Island Police Department],” the post continued.

Bystanders rescued the man from the water and began CPR as emergency crews arrived.

“We are very thankful to those on the beach who jumped into action,” the team posted Saturday.

Moderate rip currents are in effect Sunday as well, according to the National Weather Service. Advice from officials is for swimmers to stay knee-deep in the ocean. Anyone caught in a current should remain afloat, stay calm and call for help; do not try and swim against the current, which could lead to exhaustion and further endangerment.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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