A 61-year-old man has died after getting caught in strong rip currents in North Carolina caused by the approaching Hurricane Dorian. According to the National Park Service, the unnamed Virginia man was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Hatteras National Seashore near Hatteras Village, North Carolina when the incident occurred.
A bystander observed the man in "apparent distress" and manage to pull the man to shore, where rescue personnel met them and performed CPR. The man, who had not been suing a flotation device, tragically died.
His cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
"Our staff offer our deepest sympathies to his family and friends," National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac said in a statement. "We urge all visitors to be very careful when swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, especially with the approaching storm. Additionally we would like to thank the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad for their swift response."
After battering the Bahamas, where it lingered for 48 hours, the previously rated Category 5 storm is now skirting along the southeastern coast of the United States as a Category 2 hurricane. Although it is not packing as strong winds as it had at its peak, it is still considered "extremely dangerous," and park officials are warning that there is "a high risk of rip currents," which are "life-threatening to anyone entering the surf."
The unnamed swimmer's death is the second Hurricane Dorian-related in the United States. On Sunday, a 68-year-old Florida man named David Bradley fell three stories to his death as he was boarding up windows of a beachside condominium in preparation of the storm. According to authorities, the man had been standing on a ladder in the screened-in balcony facing the sea when he fell. He may have suffered a cardiac episode during the incident.
Meanwhile, in the Bahamas the death toll currently sits at seven and is expected to rise. Crews on the ground have reported seeing bodies floating in the water, raising fears that they will be carried out to sea as the waters recede.
Additionally, public officials confirmed that as of mid-Monday, when the storm was still ravaging the Bahamas, they had received over 2,000 rescue requests" to an emergency WhatsApp number, AccuWeather reports. Residents were advised to move to the highest areas and use tools to break through their roofs as the storm surge continued to rise.
Rescue crews are currently on the ground.