Marine graduate drowns off Hunting Island State Park

achristnovich@islandpacket.comSeptember 7, 2012 

Law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel are shown on the south end of Hunting Island State Park on Friday evening after recovering the body of a Marine drowning victim.

DELAYNA EARLEY, STAFF PHOTO

A 19-year-old Marine drowned off Hunting Island State Park on Friday, just a few hours after he graduated from boot camp, according to Beaufort County Sheriff's Office officials.

The Marine was swimming about 40 yards from the beach, south of the Hunting Island Lighthouse, when he disappeared, according to Lee Levesque, spokesman for the Lady's Island-St. Helena Island Fire District.

A relative called 911 after losing sight of him.

Fire district personnel and Fripp Island Water Search and Rescue responded and began a search for the man.

The Sheriff's Office took over the investigation when the body was recovered at about 5:25 p.m., Levesque said.

Officials at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island didn't release the man's name. Military policy forbids identification of deceased service members until 24 hours after next of kin have been notified, said Lt. Melanie Salinas, base spokeswoman.

Further details were not immediately available.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich at twitter.com/IPBG_CrimeNOB

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