A 60-year-old man from Raleigh has gone missing off Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, according to the National Park Service.
U.S. Coast Guard officials say they suspended the search for him Wednesday night “after saturating the search area with multiple assets and other agencies,” according to a press release.
The tourist, who has not been identified, went missing about 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, near the Oregon Inlet, officials said.
“The girlfriend of the man told Dare County 911 that he had gone out on a boogie board to swim in the inlet Wednesday morning, but he did not return,” said the Coast Guard in a press release.
“Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet boat crews were launched alongside an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City. A Coast Guard crew found his boogie board located against a span of the (Bonner) bridge.”
The 16-hour search covered covered over 43 nautical miles, officials said.
The National Park Service says there was “a low risk” for dangerous rip currents in the water at the time the man vanished.
Beaches off North Carolina have seen at least eight water-related deaths this year, including a 53-year-old tourist from Ohio who is believed to have drowned off Cape Hatters in early June.
“It’s especially busy as we begin the 4th of July weekend and it’s very important to be mindful of your environment and wear your life jacket as you head out on the water,” said a statement from Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Dempsey of the Coast Guard’s 5th District.
“In the region, there have been at least six deaths of people not wearing life jackets in the past week.”
There have also been three shark attacks, including one that cost a 17-year-old North Carolina girl one leg and some fingers. All three shark bite cases involved children or teens.
Most of the water-related deaths have been blamed on swift rip currents, which pull swimmers far away from beaches. However, autopsy results have not been released in all the cases.