North Carolina

Dad who tried to save his kids off NC coast dies after being pulled from ocean, town says

Durham dad dies after trying to save kids at Wrightsville Beach

Johnny Lee Vann Jr. of Durham, NC, died from a “possible drowning” in the ocean after he tried to save his kids and “experienced trouble in the water,” as reported by our media partner, ABC11 News.
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Johnny Lee Vann Jr. of Durham, NC, died from a “possible drowning” in the ocean after he tried to save his kids and “experienced trouble in the water,” as reported by our media partner, ABC11 News.

A father was trying to rescue his kids before he died off the North Carolina coast, officials say.

Johnny Lee Vann Jr., 35, of Durham was in Wrightsville Beach on Sunday when he saved “four of his seven children” from “rough waters,” WWAY reports.

Vann “experienced trouble,” and first responders pulled him out of the ocean, the town of Wrightsville Beach said in a news release.

Emergency crews couldn’t revive Vann, according to the release. Town officials say the incident was a “possible drowning.”

There have been at “least eight water-related deaths” in North Carolina this year, and the U.S. Coast Guard stopped its search for a 60-year-old man who went missing in water near the Outer Banks.

Dawn Vann, Johnny Vann’s wife, told WWAY “other children were rescued by responders and what appeared to be bystanders and lifeguards.”

Wrightsville Beach is about 10 miles east of Wilmington.

With summer approaching and weather warming, it's time to keep these water safety tips in mind, as provided by the Placer County Sheriff's Office.

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