EMERALD ISLE — A 48-year-old Jacksonville man pulled from a rip current in the ocean by surfers Sunday near Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier died Tuesday, according to Police Chief Tony Reese.

In a press release Tuesday evening, the chief stated, “Emerald Isle Police have been able to confirm through the family that 48-year old Robert Ray Patterson of Jacksonville, who was pulled from the water by surfers in Emerald Isle on Sunday May 19, 2019 at 2:02 p.m. … died at Carolina East Medical Center on Tuesday.”

The town extended condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Patterson and said no further information would be released.

Chief Reese earlier in the week said Mr. Patterson was one of four swimmers pulled out of the water by surfers shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday.

His death Tuesday was the sixth drowning this spring off Crystal Coast beaches. That total includes four deaths in Emerald Isle in three separate incidents and two deaths in Atlantic Beach resulting from a rip current event.  

Chief Reese said Emerald Isle EMS Department personnel arrived after Mr. Patterson was pulled from the water and found him unconscious. EMS personnel performed CPR and transported Mr. Patterson to Carteret Health Care in Morehead City.

The rescued swimmer, the chief added late Sunday afternoon, was breathing and had a pulse when he arrived at the hospital.  The man was to be transported to either Vidant Health in Greenville or CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern.

Tuesday afternoon, a cousin of Mr. Patterson posted a GoFundMe page to Facebook, stating that Mr. Patterson had died.

“Hi everyone, it is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this. As many of you know by now, my cousin Robbie was in an accident on Sunday at Emerald Isle where he got caught in a rip tide and drowned,” the post stated. “…Robbie was the funniest and most kind man! He loved his family and we will all miss him.”

The post is signed by Johanna Barnowski.

Yellow flags were flying at the time of the rescues – signifying normal conditions, requiring caution – not red flags, which warn swimmers to stay out of the water. Emerald Isle does not fly a green “safe” flag.

The National Weather Service had much of the state’s coast, including Emerald Isle, under a high risk for rip currents.

The town uses the NWS warnings, but personnel also assess the local ocean conditions each morning before determining which flag to fly.

After the four-person incident Sunday, town officials got some lifeguards on the beach Monday, two days earlier than originally planned.

Experienced lifeguards hit the 13-mile-long stretch of beach in town and manned stands at the eastern and western regional accesses. They also took to three roving vehicles, while new lifeguards continued their two-week training and are scheduled to be on duty Wednesday or Thursday in time for Memorial Day weekend. All are trained under American Lifesaving Association standards.

Ocean-condition flags fly at about 100 locations on the beach, including the regional accesses, plus at the two town fire departments on Highway 58 and at a new location at the base of the high-rise bridge to Emerald Isle.

In addition, the town will hold beach and ocean safety classes for anyone interested in June. The sessions will be Monday, June 3 at 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 18 at 10 a.m. and Tuesday, June 25 at 8 p.m.

All will be in the town commission meeting room beside the police department on the north side of Highway 58. Speakers will be from the town fire/lifeguard department, emergency medical services department, parks and recreation department and public works department.

(Previous reports)

EMERALD ISLE — A 48-year-old Jacksonville man is still in critical condition after being rescued from the ocean Sunday near the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle.

Police Chief Tony Reese said the man, Robert Patterson Jr., was one of four swimmers pulled out of the water by surfers shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday.

Emerald Isle EMS Department personnel performed CPR and transported Mr. Patterson to Carteret Health Care after they arrived on the scene.

Chief Reese said the rescued swimmer was breathing and had a pulse when he arrived at the hospital in Morehead City.

He said the man was to be transported to either Vidant Health in Greenville or CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, but that could not be confirmed Monday morning.

Yellow flags were flying at the time of the rescues – signifying normal conditions requiring caution – not red flags, which warn swimmers to stay out of the water but don’t require them to do so.

The National Weather Service had much of the state’s coast, including Emerald Isle, under a high risk for rip currents.

The town uses the NWS warnings but also assesses the local water condition before determining which flag to fly. Seas Sunday morning were about 1 foot and winds were light.

Double-red flags signify a ban on ocean swimming.

The single red flag was flying Saturday, and it went back up late Sunday and was still flying Monday morning.

 Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

(Previous report)

EMERALD ISLE – Emerald Isle Police Chief Tony Reese confirmed around 5 p.m. Sunday a 48-year-old male had been pulled from the ocean by surfers a little earlier in the afternoon near the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier and was transported to Carteret Health Care in Morehead City by Emerald Isle EMS.

Chief Reese said the rescued swimmer was breathing and had a pulse when he arrived at the hospital in Morehead City.

Chief Reese had no further information on the condition of the swimmer, but had been told he was being transported to either Vidant Health in Greenville or CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

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