FIRST ON 3: Man jumped off Southport pier to prove he could swim; Search called off


SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — The search for a Supply man continued Tuesday after police say he jumped off the Southport pier.

“We came down here to fish and he said he was gonna go swimming and he went to the pier over there on the side of the pier,” said the missing man’s sister, Mablene Hill.

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Mablene says her brother Eddie was showing his family how he could swim when he jumped off the end of the pier. She says at first, he was fine… but then the rushing current dragged him under the water.

“He said ‘Help!’,” said Mablene. “I said ‘oh lord, my brother’s drowning out there.’ He came out of the water and said ‘Sister, please save me!’ I said ‘Brother, I can’t save you.'”

That was the last time Mablene saw her brother. Investigators say multiple rescue crews from around the region searched the area by water and air. Because of the conditions, the search has been unsuccessful.

“We have a strong current in the area,” Southport Fire Captain Todd Coring said. “Also, the water where he went down is about 12 feet and then shortly there after is drops off to about 40 to 50 feet. We got a lot of debris in this area. There used to be a lot of piers in this area, so we’re dealing with a large debris field that’s causing hazards for the divers as they’re doing their job.”

Eddie’s brother Bobby says he hopes crews can bring Eddie home so the family can say goodbye.

“All the family is hoping for is that we can find him,” Bobby said. “That’s the last time we can see him.”

For now, Emergency Management has called off the active search for Hill. Police say there are “No Swimming” signs posted along the pier because of the strong current.