North Carolina Dad of 6 Dies After Being Hit by a Wave at the Beach

July 21, 2019 Updated: July 21, 2019

A North Carolina father of six died after being struck by a wave off Oak Island that broke his neck, according to news reports on July 20.

Lee Dingle, 37, was playing with three of his children when an “intense wave hit him just right to slam his head into the sand and break his neck,” said his wife, Shannon, on Twitter.

“Some heroes – including our kids – tried to save him, but it wouldn’t have mattered what they did. His body couldn’t recover from the initial injury,” Dingle also wrote. “We met when I was 18 and he was 19, and we’ve been together ever since. I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye at 37. I don’t know how to be a grown up without him, but I’ll learn. I just wish I didn’t have to.”

According to WRAL, the neck injury caused his throat to swell and deprive his brain of oxygen.

Tens of thousands of dollars were raised via GoFundMe. “As the Dingle family picks up the pieces they will need to pay for funeral expenses and need some time to get their feet under them- this means they need financial support. Lee’s death is shocking to all of us, the last thing his family needs is to worry about bills,” the page wrote.

“Lee loved and lived generously. The magnitude of this loss cannot be understated. Please help care for his family in his absence,” the page added. “Every prayer, every kind word, and every penny are appreciated.”

April Schweitzer, a friend of the Dingles, told WRAL that he was the president of Atlas Engineering in Raleigh.

“I think anyone who knew Lee was just a better person for having known him and for having that example of kindness and love and generosity in our lives,” she said.

Other details about the incident are not clear.

The National Weather Service offers the following advice on how to survive a rip current:

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under. A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second, but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second—faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  • If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone

Epoch Times reporter Simon Veazey contributed to this article.

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