Beach safety stressed after swimmer goes missing, shark sighting

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — Each summer, hundreds of people visit the Crystal Coast beaches in search of fun in the sun. But the beach has its dangers too, especially for visitors not used to the area.

A 9OYS viewer recently sent in this video of a shark at Atlantic Beach, and rip current at Emerald Isle over the weekend has left a swimmer still missing.

Morehead City resident Scott Thomas comes out to fish two to three times a week up on the Atlantic Beach Pier, and he said he knows there is more out there than meets the eye when it comes to the seemingly peaceful body of water.

“You can actually look out and see the sand bars here and the different discolorations in the water,” said Thomas.

He says most locals know not to go out that far, but “you have a lot of visitors who will and that’s really in between the sand bars where your rip currents are.”

Emerald Isle lifeguard Jessica Hasteadt said knowing what do to when the tide pulls you out can determine life or death.

“When you feel it stop pulling you, you swim to either the right or the left of the current to get out,” Hasteadt said. “You don’t want to swim against it.”

Thomas said that is not the only danger

“I would definitely suggest not swimming near the pier area,” Thomas said. “You have fishing that is going on, people cleaning fish. It draws in a lot of sharks and sharks by nature tend to bite things out of curiosity. Not only that, but you also have fishing lines, fishing hooks, and you don’t want to get tangled up in that.”

Thomas said avoiding dangerous situations at the beach is preventable.

“Common sense goes a long way and a good adage is ‘If you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes,'” said Thomas. “So just don’t play those games and be safe about it.”

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