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Body of missing Hunting Island swimmer found

The body of a missing 31-year-old Allendale man who disappeared Saturday while swimming off the coast of Hunting Island was found early this morning.

Lee Levesque, spokesman for the Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District, said the body of Joseph Scott was discovered at about 5:30 a.m. by members of the S.C. State Park Service.

Scott’s body was sent to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for an autopsy, said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen.

Scott was swimming about 200 yards offshore with friends at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday when he went under water and did not resurface.

Rescue crews from the U.S. Coast Guard, Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District, Beaufort Water Search and Rescue and other local agencies searched for Scott until midnight Saturday, when they had to stop because it got too dark.

Officials continued searching Sunday and were slated to resume their recovery mission today when Scott’s body was found.

Members of Scott’s family, who stayed at Hunting Island State Park throughout the search Sunday, told authorities Scott was a capable swimmer.

Scott likely was pulled under by a strong rip current, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Earlier Saturday, five other people had to be saved from the waters at Hunting Island.

Firefighters rescued a small boy and his father and another couple unrelated to Scott. After bringing those four to safety, rescuers went back out and saved a woman who was an acquaintance of Scott’s and was looking for him after she saw him go under, according to a news release.

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