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Students mourn loss of fellow Seahawk

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UNCW students are mourning the loss of a classmate after Friday afternoon storms turned deadly at Wrightsville Beach.

“I sent him a text message actually, once it started raining, asking him how the beach was jokingly cause it started pouring, and I never got an answer, and then I found out what happened,” said Chris Hetem.

It was a somber day on campus Monday as students returned to class and learned about what happened to their friend.

Eighteen-year-old John Edward Sackett III, known to friends as JT, was a freshman from Annapolis, Maryland.

He was killed when lightning hit near the Oceanic Pier while he was swimming.

“He had one of those smiles, it’s just contagious, everybody loved him,” said Austin Willoughby.

Friends stopped by the student center to sign a memorial book and share stories. They painted the “rock”, a popular meeting place on campus, in his honor.

They shared stories and memories about their friend…

“We played mud volleyball a lot when it rained, we had our own team, we were going to be the Spicy Hors d‘oeuvres, but we kinda forgot, to sign up,” said Willoughby.

“His girlfriend, they haven’t been together very long, but he told me that he loved her, and he just hadn’t said it yet, he was just waiting for the right time, but he was never able to say it…so I actually called his girlfriend yesterday and told her that he said that to me,” said Hetem.

Willoughby added, “I just really miss him, he was an awesome kid.”

The cause of John Sackett’s death is still pending.

Funeral arrangements are still being finalized in Annapolis.

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Story summary

UNCW students are mourning the loss of a classmate after Friday afternoon storms turned deadly at Wrightsville Beach.

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