WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- An early morning swim turned dangerous at Wrightsville Beach. Crews from the Coast Guard, Wrightsville Beach Fire Department, New Hanover County Sheriff's Office and Ocean Rescue helped rescue two swimmers from the water around 3 a.m. Saturday.
A concerned citizen called 911 when they said they saw a man start to struggle in the water. A good samaritan jumped in to help, but also had to be rescued.
New Hanover County dispatch contacted Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach while the New Hanover County Sheriff's department launched their helicopter, SABLE, and Wrightsville Beach Fire Department deployed two Ocean Rescue lifeguards from shore.
About 10 minutes after the initial call, a 25-foot Response Boat and small crew from CG Station Wrightsville Beach arrived on scene. SABLE illuminated the area from above, while the boat crew pulled the distressed swimmer, the good samaritan and one of lifeguards onboard. The second lifeguard swam ashore while the boat, crew and passengers headed to the CG Station.
"The crew of did an outstanding job in the recovery of the people in the water, and I attribute it to us working hand in hand with the local agencies," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jose Segura, operations petty officer of Station Wrightsville Beach. "This comes from years of developing relationships with the local agencies in the community."
The man rescued was reportedly naked and somewhat intoxicated, but in good health, and was taken into custody by New Hanover County Sheriff's Deputies.
The Coast Guard says the good samaritan had been drinking as well.
Between Saturday's incident and this week being a holiday week the Coast Guard at Wrightsville Beach is stepping up its efforts. They say if you swim, swim using the buddy system and never operate a boat after consuming alcohol.
"Have a person designated to drive the vessel," said Segura. "If you're going to be in the water use the buddy system, that's the best thing, and if you find yourself in trouble pick up the phone and call 9-1-1. We'll get out there and try and help you."
The Coast Guard says they didn't see any B-U-I's on Memorial Day but the 4th of July is a whole different animal. With the holiday celebration on at Masonboro, authorities are telling boaters and swimmers to stay safe.
They say take a lesson from the swimmers on Saturday, don't swim at night, especially drunk.