Officials say the man who was pulled from the surf off Assateague Island National Seashore this past Wednesday evening apparently had drowned.
Liz Davis, Assateague Island National Seashore spokeswoman, says the call for help was received around 6:40 p.m. after a body was spotted floating face down in the surf off North Ocean Beach. “A multi-agency search effort between the National Park Service, Maryland DNR, Berlin EMS, and ATV-patrolling Assateague State Park lifeguards found the body at 7:34 p.m. approximately 300 yards southeast of North Ocean Beach,” she said.
The crew of a Maryland DNR police boat located, retrieved and brought the body to the West Ocean City DNR boathouse for transportation to the Worcester County medical examiner’s office.
The victim has been identified as Dongjin Hong, 36, from Hartford, Connecticut. Initial autopsy results indicate the cause of death was drowning, she said.
The Assateague Island National Seashore lifeguard protected swimming area at North Ocean Beach is in operation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven-days a week. The Assateague State Park lifeguard protected swimming area is in operation from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lifeguard patrolling on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) until 7:00 p.m. Lifeguards and red flags are actively warning swimmers of persistent seaward or “rip” currents along Assateague’s beaches.