Two drown at Atlantic Beach as local ocean rescue crews gear up for season

No swimming flag flying in Corolla. [Photo courtesy Corolla Beach Rescue]

A 24-year-old Johnson County man and his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son drowned in rip currents at Atlantic Beach this week — the fourth and fifth fatalities for coastal North Carolina since April.

As ocean rescue crews train for the upcoming summer season, local officials are again trying to get the word out about dangerous rip currents and other ocean hazards. Last year was deadly one along the Outer Banks, with nine people drowning from Duck to Hatteras, most of them caught in rip currents.

In the Atlantic Beach case, authorities said it appears the man drowned trying to rescue the little boy Wednesday afternoon. Days earlier, a U.S. Marine from Camp Lejeune drowned in a rip at Emerald Isle, the third drowning there since late April, when two Wake Forest High School students lost their lives.

Ian Lewis and Paige Merical were caught in a rip current at Emerald Isle on April 25. Ian’s body was found and Paige was rescued, but her family made the decision to take her off life support shortly after.

Once again this year, local beachgoers can receive text alerts from Outer Banks lifeguards and weather alerts from the National Weather Service as part of the area’s mutual “Love the Beach, Respect the Ocean” campaign.

To receive alerts, text “Join OBXBEACHCONDITIONS” to 30890. Reply STOP, to unsubscribe.

You can learn more about rip currents at weather.gov/beach/mhx
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This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.