Man dies, days after rescue from rough surf at Emerald Isle

May 21, 2019

One of four swimmers pulled from rough surf Sunday near Emerald Isle has died. Robert Ray Patterson, 48, of Jacksonville, died at Carolina East Medical Center on Tuesday.

Authorities received a call for swimmers in distress near the Bogue Inlet Pier at about 2 p.m. on Sunday. By the time first responders reached the beach, four swimmers had been pulled ashore by surfers, according to NBC affiliate WITN.

Yellow warning flags, indicating potentially high surf or dangerous currents, were flying at the Emerald Isle beach on Sunday, authorities said.

Patterson’s is the sixth drowning death along the central North Carolina coast in the past month, with rip currents blamed for at least four of the deaths:

Experts advise swimming parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current instead of fighting against it. Once you’re out of the current, you can then head to shore. If you’re unable to swim out, float or tread water till you get out and can swim to shore.

If you’re still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by facing the shore, waving your arms and yelling for help.

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