A Camp Lejeune Marine died Saturday while swimming in the ocean at Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
Emerald Isle police responded to a report of a swimmer in distress at 4:23 p.m. in the area of the 9100 block of the beach strand, according to a news release from the Emerald Isle Police Department.
When emergency responders arrived on scene, Justin Andrew Hinds, 28, had already been pulled from the water by friends who were at the beach with him. Life-saving efforts were initiated by Emerald Isle EMS and Fire Department personnel and Hinds was transported to Carteret Health Care, where he was pronounced dead by hospital staff, the release said.
Hinds was a Marine lance corporal stationed at Camp Lejeune and from Avondale, Arizona.
In a statement released Sunday night, Camp Lejeune officials confirmed said Hinds was an administrative specialist with Alpha Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion for Marine Corps Installations East.
Hinds originally joined the Army in June 2011 as a combat engineer and deployed to Afghanistan from June 2011 to June 2012 before joining the U.S. Army National Guard, serving in the Guard from April 2014 to December 2015, Lejeune spokesman Nat Fahy said in a statement.
He joined the Marine Corps in January 2016.
His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, and Combat Action Ribbon.
"The sudden loss of LCpl Hinds is absolutely devastating for the entire command," Col. Scott Conway, commanding officer of H&S Battalion, said in a statement. "Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow Marines during this difficult time. My sincere hope is that his loved ones can take some comfort knowing what a profound impact he had on those with whom he served. He will be missed."
Emerald Isle police did not release any further details about the incident but said yellow flags were flying at town beach parks, indicating a moderate risk of strong currents at the incident.
The National Weather service was reporting a moderate risk of rip currents. The winds were out of the southwest at 10 to 15 mph and surf conditions were reported at 3 to 5 feet.
-- Hope Hodge Seck contributed to this report.
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