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Man dies off Outer Banks park in rough surf churned by Hurricane Dorian’s approach

A 61-year-old Virginia man died Sunday in waters off Cape Hatteras National Seashore that experts say are being churned by Hurricane Dorian’s westward track.

Forecasters have predicted for days that rough surf and dangerous rip currents were likely off the Outer Banks during the Labor Day weekend as the storm moved closer to North Carolina.

The National Park Service said a medical exam will be needed to determine the cause of death of the man, who was seen struggling in the water before his death. His identity was not released.

The National Park Service says the incident happened about 5:25 p.m. Sunday off Flambu Road near Hatteras Village.

“A bystander observed the swimmer in apparent distress and attempted rescue,” park officials said in a press release. “The bystander brought the 61-year-old male... closer to shore where he was met by rescue personnel... CPR efforts were unsuccessful.”

He was in the water without a flotation device, officials said in a release. “A high risk of rip currents was forecast for most of the beaches along the Seashore today, and rip currents were observed in the area,” officials said.

Park officials say it’s the “second water-related fatality” this year at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. In June, a 53-year-old man from from Ohio was pulled from the water near Buxton, The Charlotte Observer reported June 10.

The tourist who died Sunday was from Oak Hills, Virginia, about 25 miles west of Washington, D.C., the park said

“Our staff offer our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” park Superintendent David Hallac said in a press release.

“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.”

Cape Hatteras had five water-related deaths in 2018 and seven in 2017, park officials said.

Hurricane Dorian has been impacting the current off the Outer Banks since the middle of last week, experts say.

The National Hurricane Center has forecast Dorian will likely go up the East Coast toward the Outer Banks Tuesday or Wednesday and bring dangerous storm surge and coastal flooding to both Carolinas.

Dorian, a Category 4 hurricane, hit the Bahamas Sunday and Monday with 155 mph sustained winds and gusts of up to 200 mph.

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