Wife says husband drowned trying to rescue kids at NC beach

Wife says husband drowned trying to rescue kids at NC beach

 12-year-old Indiana girl nearly lost her leg after contracting a flesh-eating disease, likely while swimming at a Florida beach.

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. — An official in a North Carolina coastal town said a man has drowned trying to rescue children in the water.

Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens announced in a news release on Monday that eyewitnesses said 35-year-old Johnny Lee Vann Jr. of Durham had tried to save several of his children from the water at the south end of the beach.

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<p>Johnny Lee Van Jr. (Credit: WTVD)</p>

Johnny Lee Van Jr. (Credit: WTVD)

(Johnny Lee Vann Jr.)

They said Vann apparently experienced trouble during the attempt.

Emergency crews were dispatched to the vicinity of Beach Access 43 shortly after 4 p.m.

Owens said rescue personnel pulled Vann from the water but were unable to resuscitate him.

Vann's wife told our sister station WWAY that her husband died trying to save his children from rough waters.

Witnesses told WWAY that Vann tried to rescue his children from being pushed out to deep water around the jetty. Vann's wife told WWAY that he was able to rescue four of his seven children from the water.

Vann's wife said the other children were rescued by responders and what appeared to be bystanders and lifeguards.

The family was visiting from Durham after recently moving to North Carolina from Michigan.