Nearly 200 attend vigil for man who died trying to save boy at Atlantic Beach

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ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCN) — Family and friends came together Friday evening to remember Austin Potter. Potter and his girlfriend’s son both died after being caught in rip currents on Tuesday.

“Been the worst week of my life,” Donnie Potter, Austin’s father said.

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Donnie and Austin Potter moved to Atlantic Beach from Johnston County six years ago. Donnie said they didn’t know where they were going to live, only that they loved the ocean and wanted to be closer to it.

“Just terrible — it had to happen the way it happened,” Donnie said.

Austin came to the beach on Tuesday with his girlfriend, Erin Peoples and her 5-year-old son, Liam.



Peoples said Austin and Liam waded into the water. The boy was caught in a rip current.

Austin tried to save him but couldn’t. Both drowned.

“They were buddies. They were best friends. They pretty much did everything together. If Liam wasn’t with mom or dad, he was with Austin,” Peoples said.

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