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Family sues Carolina Beach over 2011 drowning

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The family of a teenager who drowned at Carolina Beach two years ago is suing the town and the top emergency workers at the time of his death.

Geoffrey Okinyi Onguti of Raleigh died June 26, 2011, after a raft he and some friends were on overturned near the beach access at Harper Street.

The lawsuit claims that due to weather that day, then Ocean Rescue Director Alicia Lachance, who was off duty, director her assistant Elliott Bass to send lifeguards home. As a result, the suit claims, when the storm was over and Onguti and his friends returned to the beach, there were not enough lifeguards or warnings about rip currents.

The suit also questions the qualifications of Lachance and Bass. It also alleged Lachance and then Carolina Beach Police Chief William Younginer, who is also named in the suit, were having an affair when Lachance was hired, and that Younginer knew Lachance was not qualified for the job.

The family is asking for damages of at least $10,000.

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