MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Two North Carolina men died July 4th while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean along the Grand Strand and were among at least 100 people rescued from the ocean, according to authorities.
North Myrtle Beach officials reported that 98 rescues were made Thursday after people got caught up strong rip currents, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. Officials said Friday that the high risk of rip currents continues for beaches in Horry and Brunswick, N.C., counties.
Mark Baucom, 50, of Polkton, N.C., died from asphyxiation due to drowning at 8:10 p.m. Thursday while being treated at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, said Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard.
Baucom was pulled from the ocean at 15th Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach.
North Myrtle Beach police were told that Baucom and a female friend were swimming in the area of 14th Avenue South when she came out of the ocean she was unable to find him, said Pat Dowling, city spokesman. At 7:29 p.m. Thursday, North Myrtle Beach dispatchers were called by a man to report he thought he saw a body floating face down in the ocean near 16th Avenue South.
At 7:33 p.m. Thursday, an officer with the beach patrol radioed dispatchers to report the victim was out of the water and CPR was in progress, Dowling said according to a report. EMS and fire rescue officials then took Baucom to the hospital.
Earlier in the day, Richard Butler, 57, of Laurinburg, N.C., was pronounced dead at 2:20 p.m. Thursday while being treated at Grand Strand Regional, Willard said. Butler had been swimming in the ocean at 72nd Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.
The cause of Butler's death has not been determined because of his extensive medical condition, Willard said.
When Myrtle Beach police arrived at the scene they found EMS and lifeguards performing CPR on Butler before he was taken to the hospital, according to a police report.