Tuesday, June 20, 2017

4th person dies from rip currents in North Carolina this month: Tyreese Worsley, 16, died Monday morning at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville nine days after he was pulled from a rip current at Emerald Isle Beach

A Goldsboro teen died at a hospital Monday, nine days after he was pulled from a rip current at Emerald Isle Beach.

Tyreese Worsley, 16, died Monday morning at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, Emerald Isle Police Chief James Reese told ABC affiliate WCTI.

Worsley attended Eastern Wayne High School, where he was a football player.

His friend, 17-year-old Elijah Hinnant, died June 10 in the same rip current at Emerald Isle.

The town of Emerald Isle put out a warning Monday morning advising beachgoers to stay out of the ocean because of the dangerous rip currents.

According to Emerald Isle Town Manager Frank Rush, the warning is in effect until further notice for the entire stretch of the 12 miles of beach in Emerald Isle. Beaches are marked with red flags.

Pine Knoll Shores has issued a black flag warning for its public beaches. (Town of Pine Knoll Shores)

Meanwhile, the Town of Pine Knoll Shores issued a Black Flag No-Swimming advisory for all public beach access locations Monday afternoon.

All homeowner association and private home/condominium owners are also strongly advised to stay out of the ocean until surf conditions improve.

The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazard Statement for the beaches in the area, and this is expected to be extended through Tuesday.

The advisory comes a day after a young man died after he was caught in a rip current in nearby Atlantic Beach.

Justin Eakes, 21, of Greenville, died in a Greenville hospital after being flown there by helicopter on Sunday. He was trying to save others in the water when the incident happened.

That incident cames just 24 hours after a man died trying to save two teenage girls who were also caught in a rip current at Atlantic Beach.


21-year-old dies after Atlantic Beach rip current rescue

Monday, June 19, 2017 12:07PM
GREENVILLE, Pitt County (WTVD) --

A 21-year-old who was reportedly attempting to save others caught in a rip current off Atlantic Beach on Sunday has died.

Vidant Medical Center spokesperson Amy Holcomb confirmed 21-year-old Justin Eakes, of Greenville, died after being flown there by helicopter on Sunday.

He was among five people who were in distress when firefighters arrived at the unprotected section of Atlantic Beach. He and a woman needed medical attention.

"We made access with the jet skis and EMS unit to the location on the beach," Kevin White, Shift Captain at Atlantic Beach Fire Department, told WCTI. "We got on scene and there were multiple victims, CPR was being performed on one of the victims."

The woman was transported to the hospital and is in good condition.

This incident comes just 24 hours after a man died trying to save two teenage girls that were caught at a rip current at Atlantic Beach.


Man dies trying to save teens from Atlantic Beach rip current

Saturday, June 17, 2017 07:04PM
ATLANTIC BEACH (WTVD) -- A 56-year-old man has died after trying to rescue two teenage girls from a rip current Saturday morning.

The man's death occurred one week after two Wayne County teens got caught in a dangerous rip current at Emerald Isle.

Around 11 a.m., the Atlantic Beach Fire Department responded to a report of three people in the water needing assistance.

Authorities said the man went into the water to rescue the girls from a rip current after hearing them screaming.

Officials performed CPR on man and one of the teenagers was transported to the hospital.

Authorities expect the girls will be okay.

Red flags were posted to let residents and visitors know the risk for swimming along the Crystal Coast was high.


Friends remember Greenville man who died trying to save others from rip current

WNCT Staff Published: June 18, 2017, 1:27 pm Updated: June 19, 2017, 7:44 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) – A man is dead after getting caught up in a rip current Sunday morning.

9 On Your Side has learned 21-year-old Justin Eakes, one of two victims rescued from the ocean in Atlantic Beach, is deceased.

“He was a good person, noble,” his friend 20-year-old Brian Kelly said. “He lost his life actually trying to help somebody.”

Kelly and Eakes attended Farmville Central High School together. Kelly was at the beach with Eakes when they were caught in the rip current around 11 a.m. on Sunday. Kelly said Eakes was almost to shore, but turned around and helped people get out. It ultimately cost him his life.

“It’s dangerous,” Kelly said. “We really all believed that we were going to lose our lives. We said goodbye to all the things we loved, and it’s just a sad thing that out of all of us, it was Justin.”

Atlantic Beach fire chief Adam Snyder told WNCT at the time that Eakes was transported to Carteret Health Care before being transported to Vidant in Greenville. At that time, he was listed in critical condition. He has since died.

At last check, a 19-year-old female victim remains at Carteret Health Care and is expected to be okay.

New Bern resident Matt Smith was one of the first to respond to the scene.

“It was terrible,” Smith said. “Some of those images will be hard to erase.”

It happened behind the Double Tree hotel, about 100 yards down from the boardwalk.

“We looked out, saw him floating face down unfortunately in the waves, ran out, brought him up to the beach and started doing CPR on him,” Smith said.

The Atlantic Beach Fire Department arrived shortly after and transported both victims to the local hospital. This all happened at an unguarded beach, without a lifeguard or warning sign in sight.

“If it was in a supervised area, it probably wouldn’t have happened at all,” Snyder said. “They probably might have gotten in trouble, but again, when they are coming down, it’s a red flag. The lifeguards are whistling you in. They know where the danger is. They know where the sandbar is. They know that you are getting out too far.”

Lifeguards are urging beachgoers to stay in a supervised area. Even so, Smith said when the winds and rip currents are high, he believes getting in the water is not worth the risk.

“Days like today I would even consider not going in,” Smith said. “There is little creases where the waves cross where you suspect there is a rip current, so even if I was going to go in, I wouldn’t go very far. Sometimes not very far is too far.”

The rescue comes one day after a 56-year-old-man died near the Henderson Avenue public beach access in Atlantic Beach after suffering cardiac arrest and drowning while attempting to save two teenage girls from a rip current.

“We urge people, if you are going to do this on a beach, grab anything, a body board, a cooler, whatever floats, take that with you to stabilize those people,” Snyder said. “When the fire department arrives on scene, they can come out and get you.”

That rip current death is the second in just over a week along the Crystal Coast. Last Saturday, 17-year-old Elijah Hinnant of Goldsboro died after getting caught in a rip current in Emerald Isle. His body was spotted in the water by swimmers several days later.

Red flags have been flying up and down the North Carolina coast since late last week for rough surf that is creating dangerous rip currents.

“We are at about 20-25 rescues from the beginning of summer, May 24 until today,” Snyder said. “Just this weekend in itself has been really bad because of the high surf conditions and the wind which is causing a significant pull on the rip currents.”


4 have died in NC rip currents this month. Heed these surf safety tips

By Abbie Bennett


Four people have died because of rip currents off the North Carolina coast since June 10.

Justin Eakes, 21, of Greenville, died Sunday night after being caught in a rip current near Atlantic Beach that morning.

Eakes’ death came just a day after a 56-year-old man died near the Henderson Avenue beach access in Atlantic Beach. The man, who has not been identified, went into cardiac arrest and drowned while trying to save two teen girls from a rip current.  

The weekend before, 17-year-old Elijah Hinnant of Wayne County died after being caught in a rip current near Emerald Isle. Tyreese Worsley, 16, was caught in the same rip current on June 10.

Worsley was pulled from the water by a surfer and rescue workers and taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he spent more than a week in critical condition. Police said Worsley died early Monday.

North Carolina has had 54 recorded rip current deaths since 1996, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The National Weather Service in Morehead City said it’s hard to compare the rip currents off North Carolina’s coasts year over year. But currents all along the coast have been stronger in the past week.

Meteorologist David Glenn said North Carolina has seen “a really high period of swell” that leads to “a much more dangerous surf zone environment and more frequent, stronger rip currents.”

“We don’t get many events like this,” Glenn said. “Those are pretty large swells out there, and that’s pretty infrequent on the eastern coast of North Carolina.”

Most rip current deaths on North Carolina coasts happen on beaches without lifeguards, Glenn said. The weather service advises that people try to swim at beaches with lifeguards.

“And swim near them, not a long distance away,” Glenn said. “That’s the No. 1 key.”

People should also know how to recognize rip currents and how to react if caught in one, Glenn said.

The U.S. Lifesaving Association estimates that nearly 100 people die in rip currents each year in the United States. Rip currents accounted for more than 80 percent of the 84,900 rescues that lifeguards made in 2016.

National Weather Service offices along the Atlantic Coast put out rip current forecasts, including North Carolina offices in Wilmington and Morehead City.

The Atlantic Beach Fire Department and other lifeguard programs along the North Carolina coast use a flag system to alert beachgoers of swim conditions.

Green flags mean calm surf conditions and safe swimming. Yellow flags mean there are possible rip currents present and a stronger surf. Red flags mean unsafe swimming conditions.

“Please remember the ocean is a changing environment that can pose a danger to you and your family,” the Atlantic Beach Fire Department said on its website. “Please be aware of hazards, follow the lifeguards recommendations and use good judgment when enjoying our finest natural resource.”

Red flags were up over the weekend.

Rip currents often are caused when water gets trapped behind a sandbar and rushes back into the ocean through a narrow channel. They are present almost every day, though not always at high speeds. They are typically narrow – only about 10 to 20 feet wide – and can move up to 8 feet per second.

Rip currents can appear to be calm areas of the ocean without waves, Glenn said,. A break in the pattern of incoming waves can signal a rip current.

The NOAA has several tips for staying safe in the ocean:

▪ Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.

▪ Never swim alone.

▪ Learn how to swim in the surf.

▪ Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches.

▪ Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.

▪ Stay at least 100 feet from piers and jetties.

▪ Wear polarized sunglasses to help you spot signs of riptides – such as a break in the pattern of waves approaching the shore.

▪ Pay especially close attention to children and elderly people.
If caught in a rip current:

▪ Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.

▪ Never fight against the current.

▪ Think of it as a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.

▪ Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle – away from the current – toward shore.

▪ If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim toward shore.

▪ If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms and yelling for help.
If you see someone in trouble:

▪ Get help from a lifeguard.

▪ If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 911.

▪ Throw the rip current victim something that floats – a life jacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.

▪ Yell instructions on how to escape.

▪ Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

Find out more about rip currents at www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov.