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OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Hundreds of people are on the beaches and in the ocean celebrating Independence Day, but Wednesdays drownings still have people pretty shaken up.

Two of three swimmers pulled from the ocean at Sunset Beach Wednesday afternoon have died, including a North Carolina judge.

Brunswick County Emergency Services Director Anthony Marzano says a call came in about three people in distress in the water at about 3:13 p.m.

By the time emergency crews arrived, all three were out of the water, but two of the swimmers were unresponsive, Marzano said. All three were taken to the hospital.

Mitchell McLean, 54, was pronounced dead. He served as Chief District Court Judge for the 23rd Judicial District, which includes Wilkes, Ashe, Alleghany and Yadkin counties.

Mary Anne Galway, of Waxhaw was airlifted to New Hanover Regional where she was also pronounced dead. A third victim, Galway’s husband, was treated and released from the hospital.

In all, three drownings were reported Wednesday in Brunswick County. A 72-year-old man from Florida drowned a few hours earlier just up the coast in Ocean Isle Beach.

People we spoke too Thursday say they are still worried about their children getting in the water.

”We were here yesterday when the gentleman down on the beach drowned. It’s just been scary because the kids go out just knee deep. It’s scary that were here and we don’t have any lifeguards here on Ocean Isle Beach,” said Johann Wheatley.

(Photo courtesy: www.yadkinripple.com)

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58 Comments on "Brunswick County drownings leave people shaken up"

2015 years 10 months ago

Wrightsville Beach has life guards and you hardly ever hear of drownings there. I’m just saying…

Peyton Garrett
2015 years 10 months ago

I am sure that the administrators of these beach towns will bring up the C word…Costs. How much is a life worth? Had there been lifeguards posted, perhaps not all three could have been saved but if just one of the three, would it be worth it? These “Beach”” towns reap the benefits of the tourist season financially, at least help protect the ones who help foot the bills while they are here doing what they came here for in the first place,,,,,the ocean. Anything less than posting lifeguards is derelict of duty by the people who run these “Beach” towns.

James Price
2015 years 10 months ago

Graduated with Mitch, and have seen him at work too, he`ll be sorely missed, the WCHS Class of 1977 salutes your bravery.. God Speed Mitch..

Respectfully, jim Price

2015 years 10 months ago

Might be because Wrightsville makes it difficult for people just to get to the beach?

2015 years 10 months ago

This is one of the first bad things that has happened at Sunset Beach I have been coming here for almost 26 years and my grandma has lived here her whole life. But regardless to say, Sunset is a “swim at your own risk” while this situation is very tragic and im praying for the families. But a comment like that was unneeded.


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