Godwin man drowns at White Lake

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

WHITE LAKE — A Godwin man drowned Sunday at White Lake, in a weekend that would prove to be tragic for swimmers in southeastern North Carolina.

Junior Godwin, 54, was reported missing at White Lake shortly after noon, following approximately an hour of unknown wherabouts. A search was conducted of the lake, and Godwin’s body was discovered in the water near the Goldston’s Beach pier.

Responding to the scene were Bladen County EMS, Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, White Lake Fire Department, White Lake Police Department, White Lake Water Rescue, N.C. State Parks, Lumberton EMS, and Robeson County.

The Sunday drowning followed three drownings at North Carolina beaches this weekend and another Thursday night. All were related to rip currents, and two of the individuals died tried to help others. Thursday night, a man entered the water at Pelican Watch to try to help three young men between the ages of 12 and 20 who were pulled out to sea. Kenny Ray Gooch, 32, was pulled past the young men and disappeared. Emergency responders pulled the Greenville man out of the water to perform CPR, but he died.

Kenny Ray Gooch, 32, of Powells Point, the boyfriend of the 12-year-old’s mother, rushed into the water just north of the Kitty Hawk Pier, according to Southern Shores Police.

Emergency crews were also called to the 400 block of Ocean Beach Boulevard in West Holden beach Saturday afternoon, when a surfer pulled a 20-year-old man from the water. The man had been caught in a rip current near the pier. CPR was attempted, but the man was pronounced dead at the hospital.

A third drowning happened Saturday afternoon at Sunset Beach, when a 40-year-old man died trying to help another swimmer. The struggling swimmer is expected to survive.

Wrightsville Beach rip currents caught a fourth man, whom lifeguards attempted to resuscitate, but unsuccessfully.

The four deaths bring North Carolina’s total deaths related to rough surf and rip currents to 11 this year.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com

Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal