North Topsail Police said a 47 year-old man drowned off the coast of North Topsail Beach. Police are not releasing the name of the man until all of the next-of-kin are notified.
It happened Thursday at approximately 10:40 a.m. on the 400 block of New River Inlet road in Onslow County. That is just south of Onslow County Beach Access Number 4.
Police say witnesses saw the unidentified man floating face down in the water. Witnesses pulled the man from the water and began their attempts to resuscitate the unresponsive man. North Topsail Fire Department officials said they continued the resuscitation attempts once they arrived on scene. The unidentified man was pronounced dead at the Naval Hospital aboard Camp Lejeune.
The circumstances that led to the death are unknown, but police say rip currents have lead to many deaths off our coast in past. Last year, three men drowned in a span of two days from rip currents on N.C. beaches.
We spoke with Emerald Isle lifeguard Lindsay Haynes about surviving a rip current.
"A lot of people have a misconception that rip currents pull you under, they actually pull you out," said Haynes.
Haynes said to never fight a rip current and to remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
"We tell people that the first thing is to not panic," said Haynes.
Haynes said to swim out of the rip current in a direction following the shoreline. When you are out of the current (i.e., when you no longer feel the pull), swim back to shore. Haynes said another option is to not swim out of the rip current, but just float or calmly tread water until the current passes, and then swim back to shore.