A Kentucky woman drowned Sunday off Emerald Isle after she and two other tourists — including a 9-year-old girl — were swept up in a deadly rip current.
Bystanders found 49-year-old Donna Sue Miller “face down in the water” and brought her to shore not long after the other two tourists made it safely out of the water, according to a post on the Emerald Isle Facebook page.
“Emerald Isle emergency personnel initiated CPR on the scene and continued efforts during transport ... but, unfortunately, Mrs. Miller did not survive,” said a statement.
Emerald Isle is a town on Bogue Banks Island, southwest of Morehead City.
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Town officials said the drowning happened about 7 p.m. Sunday near the Islander Hotel, where Miller was staying with a close friend and that friend’s daughter. Miller’s friend and the child were the other two who escaped the same rip current, the statement said.
Miller, who is from Clay City, Kentucky, is the 13th person to die this year in the water off North Carolina. It is the second drowning in two weeks to occur off Emerald Isle, reports the Carteret County News-Times.
Her death comes at a time when the state’s beach communities have stepped up efforts to keep tourists out of the ocean when rip currents are a risk. Emerald Isle earlier this month warned that swimmers who ignored a ban on swimming in the ocean could face $100 fines, reported The News & Observer.
Rip currents are defined as a “narrow current that flows away from the beach,” according to the Weather Channel. Swimmers caught in the fast-moving current are quickly pulled into deeper water and must fight their way back to shore, the Weather Channel said.
The rip current risk was not considered high on Sunday, town officials said.
“Although Emerald Isle experienced dangerous ocean conditions over an 11-day period in late July, ocean conditions were relatively calm in Emerald Isle all weekend, including last evening,” the statement said.