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North Carolina father drowns saving his daughter, another child at Holden Beach

Police determined Van Whitley, 47, drowned in a rip current after saving his daughter and her friend.

HOLDEN BEACH, N.C. — A father drowned in a Holden Beach rip current in his attempts to save his daughter and her friend.

The two children were caught in a rip current Tuesday near the 600 block of Ocean Blvd. West, Holden Beach police said. One of the children was the daughter of Van Whitley, 47, from Mt. Gilead.

Whitley drowned as he and two other men went after the children in the water to save them, according to the police report. Whitley and the two men were able to save his daughter and his daughter's friend's lives, but first responders were unable to revive him after he was pulled from the water.

The two men who went into the water with Whitley were unsuccessful in their attempt to pull him ashore as they realized Whitely was having trouble getting out of the ocean, police said.

Whitley's death has been ruled an accidental drowning. No further investigation is taking place.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Whitley,” J. Dixon, Holden Beach Chief of Police said.