Woman and man drown off the coast of Outer Banks within 24 hours

Swimmer Ferozan Walizai, 28, and Ohio man, 68, drown off Outer Banks in North Carolina within 24 hours of each other – as man describes trying to rescue victim from thundering waves

  • A woman named Ferozan Walizai was found face-down off the coast of Avon Monday afternoon 
  • A man who has not yet been named was found the following day by the Hatteras Inlet Ferry when witnesses tried to save him 
  • The severity of the rough waters is believed to be triggered by the remnants of hurricanes Franklin and Idalia 

A woman and a man both drowned off the coast of the Outer Banks, North Carolina in the span of 24 hours – as a swimmer recounted his harrowing rescue attempt in the ‘thundering’ waves.

Ferozan Walizai, 28, from Washington DC drowned off the coast of Avon on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on Monday afternoon. A man, 68, from Hillsboro, Ohio drowned nearby the next day. Both were tourists. 

Local swimmer Jeff Dawson was one of two witnesses who tried to rescue Walizai, who had been ‘overtaken by strong waves’ and disappeared in the rough surf before being spotted face-down and unresponsive at around 2.30pm.

He and the female witness brought Walizai’s body back to shore where resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.

Dawson described to WTKR what he had said to the witness, saying: ‘I was swimming up to her and I was like, “Sweetheart I am so sorry. I can save you, You’re going to be fine, but that other person that was gone, she’s gone. I am so sorry”.’ 

Local swimmer Jeff Dawson was one of two witnesses who tried to rescue Walizai, who had been 'overtaken by strong waves' and disappeared in the rough surf before being spotted face-down and unresponsive at around 2.30pm

The first confirmed death, Ferozan Walizai was found off the coast of Avon on Monday, September 4. The second drowning victim was found off the Southern end of Cape Hatteras Island the following day

Dawson has helped many people in the water before but says that he’s never experienced anything like this. 

He described the pounding waves at the beach on Monday sounding like thunder, a sign he says should warn people to stay out of the water.  

The second confirmed drowning was a man from Hillsboro, Ohio, who died off the Southern end of Cape Hatteras Island near the Hatteras Inlet Ferry.

Emergency personnel received a call at approximately 10.30am of an unresponsive person in the ocean.

Two witnesses ran in and pulled him out after they saw the man swimming before he called for help and disappeared under water. 

By the time emergency responders arrived resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. 

A beach hazards statement was in effect for Hatteras Island warning of large breaking waves. 

David Hallac, the Superintendent of National Parks of Eastern North Carolina said in a statement: ‘The Cape Hatteras National Seashore sends condolences to the families and friends of the swimmers that lost their lives over the last two days.’ 

Both drownings occurred at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore that flows along  Outer Banks Highway 12

Hallac went on to add that ‘high energy surf conditions’ like rough waves and rip currents are expected to be present in the area for the next week. 

The aftermath from hurricanes Franklin and Idalia have triggered rip currents for beaches from North Carolina all the way to New York. 

On both days, ocean conditions warned about strong rip currents, which take the lives of 100 people every year in the US. 

Though rip currents and tides are similar, they are two separate ocean occurrences. 

Currents happen when waves get pushed up against the face of the beach, and tides occur when water gets pulled along through an inlet along a barrier beach. 

The Outer Banks consist of three counties- Currituck, Dare and Hyde. 

Also known as OBX, the Outer Banks is 200 miles long, 3 miles long at the widest point and 150 yards long at the narrowest. 

OBX is a popular vacation spot for families who tend to rent beach houses during the summer. 

Currents happen when waves get pushed up against the face of the beach, and tides occur when water gets pulled along through an inlet along a barrier beach

Dawson has helped many people in the water before but says that he's never experienced anything like this

Hallac said: ‘Visitors wading into the surf, even as shallow as waist deep, may be overcome by large waves, suffer injuries, and may be overtaken by rough ocean conditions making it difficult, if not impossible, for all but the strongest, most experienced swimmers to survive.’ 

He also warned that swimmers should listen to lifeguards directions and consider wearing a floatation device in the dangerous waters. 

The National Parks Service has encouraged people to find sound-side beaches like Haulover, Salvo and Devil Shoals Road sound access sites to enjoy the water in a safer environment. 

Compared to beaches, sounds are known for being calmer and much safer with no rip tides, currents or undertows.  

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