First Posted: 11/25/2011
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH A 71-year-old Lumberton man on a salt-water fishing trip died Tuesday night after the boat he was on struck a rock jetty.
Henry Bryant was fishing with two other men from Lumberton when on the return trip from Frying Pan Shoals their boat, the 20-foot-long center-console Sea Hunt, rammed into the jetty at Masonboro Inlet.
According to the Star News of Wilmington, the fishermen were returning to shore about 3 p.m. when they contacted the Coast Guard and reported what they believed was engine trouble. The fishermen said they couldnt get the boat to go more than 8 mph.
According to Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Fred Gorchess, the men turned on the bilge pump and after some water was pumped out of the boat, the Sea Hunt picked up speed and drove fine.
Gorchess said that it was about 6:30 p.m. and dark when the boat struck the southern jetty at Masonboro Inlet. He told the Star News that it was likely the men believed they were at the Carolina Beach inlet, but entered the wrong inlet because it was dark. The Carolina Beach inlet does not have a rock jetty.
A member of the crew contacted the Coast Guard to report that one of the men on the boat was seriously hurt.
According to reports, a 25-foot boat from Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach responded. The Coast Guard towed the damaged boat back to the station, where emergency medical medical personnel were waiting. A coroner pronounced Bryant dead at the scene.
The boat reportedly had a hole in the side below the water line and was taking on water. According to officials, the boat would have sunk if it had not been towed by the Coast Guard.
The names of the men who were fishing with Bryant were not available.
Bryant is survived by his wife and two children.