Man, boy die after Atlantic Beach rescue

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC (WITN/Gray News) - 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 was reportedly younger than 10, got in trouble first and the man, who was in his mid-20s, went in to help him.

Family members identified 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.

“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," witness Brian Norwood told WITN. "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.”

“It was tragic, it was a large group of people it appeared. Everybody was very quiet and somber,” Gena Amato added.

With now five deaths along the Crystal Coast already this season, the Atlantic Beach Police Department says it is stepping up its efforts.

Jeff Harvey, Atlantic Beach Police Chief said.

“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,” said Atlantic Beach Police Chief Jeff Harvey.

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