HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- It's a vacation investigators say a church group had taken many times. But for one church group from Ohio the Carolina coast will never be the same after one of its members apparently drowned at Holden Beach.
Investigators say Kwesi Sample, 21, was trying to swim from Holden Beach to Oak Island when he disappeared under the waves.
Lockwood Folly Inlet may look peaceful today, but yesterday police say these waters turned deadly.
"Water temperature was about 61 or 62 degrees, and the tide was about to change from falling to rising, and at that particular point and time the current was particularly strong," Holden Beach Police Chief Wally Layne said.
Sample was a former college football player and, investigators say, a skilled swimmer, who was visiting the area with a church group from Ohio, but the water he and his friends tried to swim across is considered by some as the most dangerous stretch of water in Brunswick County.
"It's an extremely dangerous place to swim, especially if you're not familiar with swimming in water with a lot of current," Layne said. "It's extremely dangerous, and I would hope that folks wouldn't do it."
Wednesday crews searched by air and water for Sample's body. They say his death could have been easily prevented.
"Life jackets are good," Layne said. "At least had the individual had a life jacket on he would have just floated in the inlet. Things would have turned out a whole lot differently."
After using side scanning radar to cover the area, investigators were not able to find Sample, but they have vowed to continue the search until he is returned to his family.