At least 5 rescued while trying to reach new NC island

"Shelly Island" off Cape Point (Courtesy Chad Koczera/@Chadonka via Instagram)

BUXTON, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – So many people have been rescued from a new island off North Carolina’s Outer Banks that officials have issued warnings about accessing it.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Virginia, reports Cape Hatteras National Seashore and emergency officials are urging visitors to use kayaks or paddle boards to reach the island off Cape Point instead of swimming or wading to the island, which formed in recent months.

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An abundance of shells is attracting people to the island despite the strong currents and the presence of sharks and stingrays.

The assistant chief of the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad says rescuers recently picked up five people while bystanders with kayaks have saved others. Bob Helle warns that while it might be easy to cross at low tide, it’s more difficult to return at high tide.

Experts say the strong currents along with storms could easily wipe out the island within the year.

“This is the result of dynamic changes always occurring along our Outer Banks, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it just disappeared overnight,” Dr. Paul Liu, a scientist at N.C. State University, said.

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