Water Rescue

HARKERS ISLAND — Two swimmers made it back to shore at Cape Lookout National Seashore Saturday after they were caught in a rip current while attempting to swim from the point of Cape Lookout to a nearby island.

According to Cape Lookout National Seashore public information officer BG Horvat, two males attempted to swim out to the nearby island, known as Shark Island, and were swept out in a rip current. One swimmer was able to almost immediately make it back to shore, but the other swimmer did not return. 

A search began for the second swimmer, involving National Parks Service personnel, a Harkers Island Fire Department watercraft and a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter.

After about 3.5 hours of searching, Mr. Horvat said the second swimmer was spotted in the water by people on the beach about 3 miles from the swimmer’s original location. The area where he was spotted is known as “pedestrian beach.”

Mr. Horvat said “a good Samaritan” on shore grabbed a surfboard and went out and rescued the swimmer, bringing him to shore.

One swimmer was transported by the Harkers Island Rescue Squad to Carteret Health Care in Morehead City. Their condition is unknown.

The emergency call for swimmers in distress went out about 1:10 p.m. Saturday.

Mr. Horvat said he was thankful both swimmers were found alive.

“I’m not sure how the second swimmer made it in the water that long. He must have floated on his back,” he said.

Mr. Horvat added currents in that area are traditionally strong.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 8:41 p.m. Saturday, July 17, 2021, with more information. 


Contact Cheryl Burke at cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @cherylccnt.

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