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How Amazon delivers to Frying Pan Tower, 30+ miles off NC coast

Frying Pan Tower sits 135 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and about 30 miles off the North Carolina coast in international waters. And, it is also one of the most remote locations Amazon will deliver to.

The tower — which can serve as an escape for visitors and allow them to immerse themselves into ocean life — was built in 1964 by the U.S. Coast Guard as a light station to help warn ships of the potentially dangerous Frying Pan Shoals.

It was expected to last 50 years at most.

After 58 years, it is being used as an ecological research site for several organizations and it creates a natural ecosystem for the surrounding marine life.

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Richard Neal, the executive director of Frying Pan Tower, Inc., has a nonprofit mission where he works with volunteers to “restore, protect, and preserve” the tower.

“There are few structures in the world like the Frying Pan Tower, so I’ve made it my life’s mission to preserve it for today, tomorrow, and long after I’m gone,” Neal said. “We’re in a race against time to keep this piece of American history alive. Amazon’s delivery network, and all of the people who work behind the scenes, play an important role in this effort.”

In a news release, Neal said he has made it a priority to preserve the tower because structures like these are rare. He said Amazon and others are important to the effort.

Neal is reliant upon Amazon delivering necessary items to maintain and live in the Tower. Supplies he needs include welding supplies, water hoist materials and shark camera gear.

Amazon delivers these packages by helicopter multiple times in a week. The delivery giant said the deliveries are possible through their logistics network and third-party carrier partnerships.

After Neal purchases an item, an Amazon employee packages it in a center in Raleigh. It then travels to a sort center in town where the packages are organized by ZIP code.

Once sorted, the company’s carrier partners deliver the packages to Cape Fear Regional Jetport in Oak Island, North Carolina. Pilot Willis Tew flies the packages the last leg of the way and delivers them to Neal.

Amazon said the to-do list for the tower is never ending for Neal and the volunteers.

Neal said he wants to see Frying Pan Tower last for generations. He said it wouldn’t be possible without Amazon.

(Watch the video below: WEB EXTRA: Owner of Frying Pan Tower speaks to Channel 9)