WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (STARNEWS) — After a drowning and near-drowning at Wrightsville Beach, town leaders are evaluating the level of lifeguard service near the island’s south end.
On June 14, Johnny Lee Vann Jr., 35, of Durham, died after being pulled from the water near the south end jetty. The incident happened near Beach Access 43 — the nearest lifeguard stand is at Beach Access 40. Vann’s death happened roughly three weeks after a separate near-drowning at the south end, in which Coast Guardsmen rescued a man on the inlet side of the island.
A third incident, the disappearance of 21-year-old Ian William Malson on Saturday night, happened in the Intracoastal Waterway off the patrolled beach strand. Malson’s body was discovered Monday, and an investigation is underway.
Town Manager Tim Owens said as with after any major beach emergency, town leaders are looking into whether more lifeguard service is needed.