A 64-year-old man has died after being caught in a strong rip current while swimming in the ocean off Martha’s Vineyard, state police said on Tuesday.
Donald Reagan, from Virginia, was picked up by Coast Guard personnel, who brought him ashore where first responders performed CPR before transporting him to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Reagan was pronounced dead around 6 p.m. Monday.
Reagan and a 68-year-old friend from Martha’s Vineyard had launched their kayaks at Tisbury Great Pond in the early afternoon.
After paddling for a while, they stranded their kayaks and personal flotation devices in “The Cut,” a large opening in the sand of the beach that separates the pond from the Atlantic Ocean at Quansoo Beach. It is an area known for its high surf and rip currents.
The two men then went for a swim in the ocean, then a strong rip current swept them away from the shore. The men tried to get out of the flow, and Reagan’s friend “tried relentlessly to hang on and help Reagan when the latter started to struggle,” state police said.
“Unfortunately, the force of the current separated the men and the friend’s repeated attempts to join Reagan again failed,” police added.
His friend was finally able to get out of the water, crawl down the beach to his phone, and call the Dukes County Regional 911 Emergency Communications Center.
At 4:53 p.m., the US Coast Guard recovered Reagan and brought him ashore. A Coast Guard helicopter transported Reagan from the beach to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
While Hurricane Sam is not expected to approach the east coast, dangerous surf and tear currents could develop this weekend due to the storm.
“The main concern during this time is the increase in swell due to Sam’s distance,” the National Weather Service forecast said. “This weekend early next week. This could cause an increased risk of tearing current to the area beaches. “