NEW INFO: Man and boy die after Atlantic Beach rescue

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC (WITN) - Police on the Crystal Coast say a man and boy pulled out of the ocean Tuesday afternoon have both died.

The drownings happened around 1:45 p.m. between the Oceana Pier and Money Island Drive in Atlantic Beach. Firefighters say the two were caught up in rip currents.

Yellow flags were up Tuesday for most of Atlantic Beach, but that section had red flags flying, according to firefighters.

Witnesses say the boy, who reportedly was under 10 years of age, got in trouble first and the man, who was in his mid-20s, went in to help him.

Family members identify the man as Austin Potter, who worked at LongHorn Steakhouse in Morehead City.

These are the first drownings in Atlantic Beach this year, while three people have died in Emerald Isle.

Witness Brian Norwood says, "You could see them bringing them out of the water. They got them out very quickly, and then came this way with them and came right up to the pier here at the restaurant and brought them to the ambulance. Like I said, the second person that came had them in the back of the truck and we could see them doing CPR on them."

Witness Gena Amato says, "It was tragic, it was a large group of people it appeared. Everybody was very quiet and somber."

With now five deaths along the Crystal Coast already this season, the Atlantic Beach Police Department says they are stepping up their efforts.

Jeff Harvey, Atlantic Beach Police Chief says, "We are trying to step up our game and try to have two officers out there throughout the summer to help assist, but we can't be everywhere at every single minute."


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Firefighters say two people were rescued from waters off of Atlantic Beach after a rip current pulled them out.

Lt. Nate Nelson with the Atlantic Beach Fire Department says that rescue crews responded around 1:45 p.m. to 700 East Fort Macon Road.

Nelson says that a man and a boy were pulled from the waters west of the Oceana Pier by a rescue swimmer and a jet ski sent to assist.

Both were taken to Carteret Health Care with assistance from Pine Knoll Shores Fire/EMS and Morehead City Fire Department.

Officials are waiting for the hospital to release information on their conditions.


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Two swimmers were rescued today from a Crystal Coast beach, even though there were low threats of rip currents.

The Atlantic Beach Fire Department said the two people were alive when rescued, but didn't have any more details other than both had been caught in a rip current.

So far this year, three people have died on the Crystal Coast. All of those were swimming in Emerald Isle.

Stay with WITN-TV and WITN.com for more on this developing story.