Drowned surfer rescued by bystanders and lifeguards


While larger swells from Tropical Storm Bertha lingered at Wrightsville Beach on Wednesday, Aug. 6, one surfer was spotted floating motionless on his board just after noon in the ocean around the Stone Street beach access.

Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue Captain Jeremy Owens was one of the first lifeguards on the scene after ocean rescue was notified. A bystander on the beach had spotted the man floating on his board and dragged him out of the water to begin CPR.

The surfer, who was a male in his 20s, had no pulse and was foaming from the mouth and nose, which is an indication of drowning, Owens said. Owens and other lifeguards on scene took over CPR efforts, utilizing air wave adjuncts to pump oxygen back into the surfer’s body.

“For drownings the most important thing is getting oxygen back into the body,” Owens said. “If you are just doing the normal chest compressions it is like trying to start a car without any gas in the tank.”

With their efforts, the WBOR lifeguards were able to start the surfer’s pulse again and Owens said he had good oxygen saturation in his body when he was loaded into the New Hanover County EMS ambulance.

The surfer survived and Owens said he was released from the hospital.

Although Owens said he has no idea what caused the surfer to drown, he did know the efforts of the first response bystanders and lifeguards saved a man’s life.

“I just want to think everyone on the beach that helped out because without them someone would have lost their life,” he said. “We arrived on scene within a minute, everything worked out flawlessly and we are so glad there was a happy ending.”

email Cole Dittmer



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