Marine drowns off Emerald Isle

May 6, 2019

A Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune drowned Saturday, Emerald Isle police said.

Justin Andrew Hinds was pulled from the water by his friends just after 4 p.m. At the time, yellow flags were posted indicating a moderate risk of rip currents.

Hinds, 28, was from Avondale, Arizona.

Emerald Isle EMS and fire personnel tried to resuscitate him, but Hinds was pronounced dead at Carteret Health Care.

“The sudden loss of LCpl Hinds is absolutely devastating for the entire command,” said Col Scott Conway, commanding officer, H&S Battalion. “Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow Marines during this difficult time. My sincere hope is that his loved ones can take some comfort knowing what a profound impact he had on those with whom he served. He will be missed.”

His is at least the third drowning death off the Carolina coast already this season. A pair of teens from Wake Forest got caught in a rip current off Emerald Isle during a spring break visit.

Ian Lewis, 18, got swept away and his body was found April 22.

Paige Merical, 17, spent 14 minutes underwater before she was rescued and rushed to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. But doctors said she suffered too much brain damage from the ordeal. She was later taken off life support and her organs donated.

Between 2000 and 2017, rip currents killed more people in North and South Carolina than flooding, tornadoes and lightning combined.