EMERALD ISLE — A 28-year-old Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville died Saturday afternoon while swimming in the ocean.

In a press release issued at about 8 p.m., Police Chief Tony Reese said officers responded to a report of a swimmer in distress at 4:23 p.m. in the 9100 block of the beach strand.

When emergency responders got to the scene, Justin Andrew Hinds had already been pulled from the water by friends who were at the beach with him, according to the release.

“Life-saving efforts were initiated by Emerald Isle EMS and Fire Department personnel and Hinds was transported to Carteret Health Care, where he was pronounced dead by hospital staff,” the release added.

Mr. Hinds was from Avondale, Ariz.

The release said yellow caution flags were flying at town beach parks, indicating a moderate risk of strong currents. Yellow flags are the norm in Emerald Isle. The town does not use green flags, under the philosophy that swimmers should always exercise caution. Red flags indicate conditions are dangerous and swimming is not advised.

The National Weather Service at the time was reporting a moderate risk of rip currents. The winds were southwest at 10 to 15 mph and surf conditions were reported at 3 to 5 feet. The water temperature was 67 degrees, according to the release.

There were no lifeguards on the beach, as that service does not begin until Memorial Day weekend.

No other details were released.

It was the third drowning in town since mid-April.

Mary Paige Merical, 17, of Raleigh, and Ian Lewis, 18, of Wake Forest died after being caught in a rip current April 19.

Ms. Merical was rescued but didn’t recover. She was declared brain dead and her parents made the decision a week later to donate her organs.

The body of Mr. Lewis was found by town personnel two days after the incident, on April 21.

They were seniors at Wake Forest High School.

When the incident took place, winds were 20-25 mph from the south and waves were 6 to 9 feet high, with a water temperature of 62 degrees, according to officials.


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

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