Crews recover body of missing swimmer near Cape Hatteras

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – The body of a swimmer that went missing Sunday morning in Salvo near the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was found Wednesday.

At 7:36 a.m. Wednesday,a park visitor reported finding the body of the 55-year-old man who went missing while swimming just south of Ramp 23.

Emergency crews suspended their search for the man Monday.

According to Coast Guard Sector Elizabeth City, the emergency call came in at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The man was spotted by his family struggling in the water for about 20 minutes.

“It’s tragic when something like this happens, especially right before your eyes, thinking in terms of the family members.  So definitely our thoughts are with the person and their family,” says Corrine Zilnicki, Petty Officer 3rd class of Public Affairs Specialist of US Coast Guard.

A Chicamacomico Banks Water Rescue lifeguard arrived on the scene and tried to rescue the swimmer, but a wave separated the two. The lifeguard noticed the swimmer was unconscious, according to the Coast Guard. The lifeguard then called the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Oregon Inlet, Elizabeth City and Chicamacomico Banks Water Rescue launched a search operation using both a boat and a helicopter.  However, they were unable to locate the swimmer.

Zilnicki says the biggest challenge in finding missing swimmers is dealing with the elements, like changing tides and changing currents.

“There are specific ways that you’re trained to look when you’re looking out for a person in the water.  So the Coast Guard does everything it can to minimize those challenges that the elements present. But it’s still very difficult,” Zilnicki says.