Search suspended for Wayne Co. teen at NC coast, 2nd teen in critical condition

WNCT photo of Emerald Isle beach.

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The U.S. Coast Guard Sunday afternoon called off the search for a Wayne County teen who vanished in the ocean off Emerald Isle Saturday evening.

RELATED: Man who rescued Wayne County teen from drowning off NC coast speaks out


Search efforts were underway until about 3 p.m. for the 17-year-old Wayne County boy who was caught in a rip current and went missing while swimming.

The incident happened around 6:08 p.m. Saturday.

Emerald Isle Police Chief James Reese said a 16-year-old and 17-year-old were swimming when they got caught in a rip current.

The 16-year-old boy was located Saturday and was brought ashore by a surfer.

He was taken to Carteret Health Care and then airlifted to Vidant Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.

During the search for the 17-year-old, Coast Guard assets covered approximately 129 square nautical miles and searched for over 25 hours, officials said.

Earlier Sunday, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter were searching the waters.


“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the young man,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Lance Sobel, duty watchstander at Sector North Carolina. “Making the choice to suspend a search is never an easy choice and one the Coast Guard doesn’t take lightly.”

The search could resume if relevant new information is learned by authorities, a Coast Guard official told CBS North Carolina.

The names of the teens are not being released at the request of the families.

Both teens are from Wayne County and were visiting Emerald Isle for a day trip.

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