Marine drowns off Hunting Island Beach

Published: Sep. 7, 2012 at 10:30 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - According to authorities, a 19-year-old Marine from Ohio who had just graduated boot camp from Parris Island Friday morning later drowned off Hunting Island Beach around 4:45 p.m.

The man was last seen swimming about 40 yards from the beach, just south of the lighthouse, according to Lady's Island St. Helena fire district spokesperson Lee Levesque. After losing sight of him, a family member called 911.

"They decided to stay over for the weekend and enjoy the beach and they were out swimming and got caught in a rip current and it swept them all off their feet," said Col. Neil Baxley, Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. "They were struggling to get on their feet and the young man was unable to regain his balance before the rip current pulled him out and pulled him under."

The body was recovered around 5:25 p.m.

"It's tough on everyone," said Baxley. "A lot of us are former Marines ourselves and here's a young man who is willing to serve his country, volunteer to serve his country and the very first day he gets the opportunity to start that career, his life is shortened."

Beaufort County sheriff's deputies are investigating.

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