Warning issued after man drowns in Oak Island, multiple water rescues

(Photo: WWAY)

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — The Town of Oak Island says a person has died in a drowning Sunday afternoon.

According to a press release, on Sunday, the Oak Island Fire Department, Police Department, and Water Rescue were all dispatched to the Beach Access Location at 25th Pl E, in response to reports of a swimmer in distress. Within minutes, responders arrived to find 52-year-old Kevin Whitley of Hickory, NC had been pulled to shore and was being administered CPR by bystanders.

Emergency Medical Personnel performed all available resuscitation efforts for over 30 minutes, before pronouncing Whitley as deceased.

This particular call is among more than half a dozen calls for rescue received in the Oak Island and Caswell Beach areas up to this point on Sunday. Due to the unsettled waters as a result of Tropical Storm Colin, Oak Island Water Rescue has been flying the YELLOW Beach Warning Flag all day, and has recently upgraded that to a RED flag. A RED flag indicates a high risk of rip and longshore currents and dangerous surf conditions. Beachgoers should stay out of the water, as there is no “safe” water
depth identified on RED flag days.

The town said while neither the death of Whitley nor the other calls can be confirmed as directly related to rip currents at this time, the need for caution is still very present. With Colin not presenting the high winds or heavy rains typically experienced during a tropical storm, it can be easy for visitors to not be aware of the rough and unsafe conditions that may still be present in the water.

Multiple agencies are reporting rough surf over the weekend caused by Tropical Storm Colin.

Earlier today, Ocean Rescue in Wrightsville Beach reported almost 30 rip current rescues so far this weekend.

Life guards are urging beach goers to pay attention to the flags and weather conditions daily.

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