2nd body recovered in water off Hunting Island coast - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

2nd body recovered in water off Hunting Island coast

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(Stacy Jacobson/WCIV) (Stacy Jacobson/WCIV)

By Stacy Jacobson
sjacobson@abcnews4.com

HUNTING ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV/AP) -- Rescue crews recovered the second body of a trio of missing swimmers off the coast of Hunting Island. One swimmer is still missing.

The second body, identified as 38-year-old Tiem Mok, was found around 10 a.m. Monday in Fripp Inlet, officials said.

The first of three missing swimmers was recovered Sunday after a day of searching in the same waters. According to Beaufort County Sheriff's deputies, the body of 16-year-old Nathan Mok, of Chesnee, was recovered around 6 p.m. Sunday. 

Rescue and recovery crews are still searching for another body, a 17-year-old family member from Philadelphia. The three swimmers were last seen in distress at 4:45 p.m. Sunday, officials said.

A 14-year-old girl had been swimming with the victims when they began struggling in the strong currents. A father's sacrifice could have been what saved her life.

"The dad brought the girl back in and he went back out," said Dana Harmon, who witnessed the harrowing ordeal. "All the family just huddled on the beach crying saying, 'Please help us.'"

She tried to pull them to safety, officials said, but could not hang on in the rough waters.

She swam to shore and told other family members to call for help.

Park rangers patrolled the shore overnight in the event the bodies of the two missing swimmers wash ashore. 

"The little brother was screaming, ‘My brother's dead,'" said her son Jordan, who also saw it happen.

Harmon was with her family on the island. She said she only let Jordan go in the ocean up to his knees Sunday. She knew what strong currents could be like.

"Before you know it you're pulled down," she said.

"We got high winds, we got strong tides pulling right now," South Carolina Department of Natural Resources' Sgt. Michael Paul Thomas said.

Thomas said the DNR used air and water tools to try to recover the men.
 
The U.S. Coast Guard is warning people this week about the risks of rip tides, after Sunday's drowning. In a release, it said rip tides kill around 100 people a year and are especially dangerous after severe weather.

Another witness said he talked to the grieving family. They told him they couldn't believe they were leaving the beach without their relatives. But some other young visitors left the beach with a scary lesson, in safety.

Glenn White of Gaffney told the Associated Press the group had been using a boogie board when they were swept out to sea. White said he and others waded into neck deep water, but were unable to get to the group.

Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen told the AP there were no obvious signs of injury on the first body. Autopsies are being performed at Medical University Hospital.

"Don't go out in the water when it's really rough and it's a bad storm. Cause it can just take you like that," Arizona Carson said.

Officials said these were the first drownings on Hunting Island since 2011.

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