Woman drowns on 46th wedding anniversary trip to the beach

A Knoxville woman drowned at Oak Island on Tuesday, according to Oak Island Spokesperson Michael Scott Emory.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 10:15 AM CDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) – A woman from Tennessee drowned during an anniversary trip to a beach in North Carolina last week.

Oak Island spokesperson Michael Scott Emory said crews responded to a call regarding an unresponsive person in the water near a public beach access.

The person was later identified as 67-year-old Toni Watts who was on a trip with her husband for their 46th wedding anniversary, according to her daughter Joy Watts Chadwick.

“Rip current warnings were in effect at the time, but the exact cause of her going under the water is unconfirmed,” Emory told WVLT. “No drugs or alcohol were involved, and I am currently unaware of any complicating medical condition.”

Chadwick said her mother died in the water – doing what she loved.

“Though we do not know exactly what happened, we do know, with absolute certainty that she passed from a place where she’d described as being ‘Heaven on earth’ to actual Heaven,” Chadwick said.

WECT reports at least two men swam into water above their heads to bring Watts ashore.

While rescue crews don’t encourage untrained rescues, they recommend taking a flotation device such as a boogie board for any attempts.

Rip currents look like dark, seemingly calm areas between white waves.

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