For the second time this week, someone has died in the waters off NC's Cape Hatteras

For the second time this week, someone has died in the waters off NC's Cape Hatteras
(Source: pixabay)

Cape Hatteras, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - Another death has been reported this week in the waters off the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and deadly rip currents are again being blamed.

The latest incident involved a 55-year-old North Carolina man, who was found in the water about 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Park Service.

He died while swimming near the Frisco Day Use Area, a popular spot with tourists visiting North Carolina's Outer Banks. The man's identity was not released as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, but park officials said he is from Benson in Johnston County.

The man was first spotted in trouble "on a small sandbar approximately 50 yards from the beach," witnesses told park officials, and members of his family were overheard calling for help.

A bystander jumped into the ocean to help him, but the 55-year-old man "was swept away from the sandbar by what may have been a rip current," the park service said. The bystander was able to pull the man back to shore, where a woman attempted CPR, reports the park service.

However, she was unable to revive him, officials said. Dare County Emergency Medical Services, Dare County Sheriff's Office, Hatteras Island Rescue Squad and Seashore Rangers also provided aid without success.

It's the second swimming-related death in the park week, and neither of the men were wearing a personal floatation device at the time, park officials say.

On Sunday, a 79-year-old tourist from Pennsylvania died while swimming at the north end of Buxton in the park.

Park officials say that man was spotted shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday "floating in the ocean." Attempts to revive him on the beach failed, park officials said.

"Although rip currents were forecast for the area and the individual was found in the water, the cause of death is unknown at this time," said a statement from the park service.

There were seven swimming-related fatalities in 2017 and eight in 2016 in the park, officials said.

At least one other drowning has been reported this season off the North Carolina coast and outside the park. In April, a 4-year-old boy drowned off Kitty Hawk after being dragged off the beach by "a rogue wave." He was walking with his mother at the time. His body was a found five days later, 34 miles away in Currituck County.

The wind-blown waters off Cape Hatteras National Seashore often produce powerful waves and dangerous rip currents, said park officials in a press release.

The U.S. Lifesaving Association defines rip currents as "powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore." Swimmers caught in the currents can easily drown while trying to fight their way back to shore, experts say.