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UNCW freshman dies while surfing in storm



Friday afternoon’s stormy weather caused a life and death situation at Wrightsville Beach. A swimmer went missing after a lightning strike.

Just after 4:00 Friday afternoon, lightning hit the water near Beach Access 36 near the Oceanic Pier.

John Edward Sackett of Annapolis, Md., an 18-year-old freshman, was killed while surfing with a group of friends.

It is not known whether the lightning hit the area near Sackett, or Sackett directly. The bad weather forced his friends out of the water, when they got to shore they realized he was not with them.

Volunteers and Ocean Rescue searched the water for about an hour. A couple visiting from Raleigh actually spotted his blue swim trunks, and pulled him out.

“The entire campus community is deeply saddened by this loss of a member of the UNCW family,” said Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to John’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”

The exact cause of death is not known.

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UNC Wilmington officials say the teen killed while surfing at Wrightsville Beach was a member of the UNCW family.

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