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.
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 Washington state, 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 but eventually lost sight of him; at this point, Kingsbury had been swimming for over an hour an was more than 4,000 feet – the better part of a mile – off the coast.
At that point, according to Surf City Police Chief Ron Shanadan, the chase “became a rescue operation.”
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.