North Carolina Man Dies From A 'Freak Ocean Wave' — What We Know

Rest in peace, Lee Dingle.

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He thought it would be just another day on the beach with his kids. But a freak wave claimed his life. How did Lee Dingle die?

Let's look at what we know about this unfortunate tragedy. 


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1. Lee Dingle is a native of North Carolina. 

According to the New York Post, Lee Dingle is a native of North Carolina. He was playing with three of his children on Oak Island when the tragedy struck. 

"An intense wave hit him just right to slam his head into the sand and break his neck,” Shannon Dingle wrote of the “freak accident” that she says took “my partner, my love, and my home. Some heroes — including our kids — tried to save him, but it wouldn’t have mattered what they did. His body couldn’t recover from the initial injury,” she wrote, according to the outlet.


Lee Dingle died when a wave hit him and broke his neck.

2. He considered himself a "family man" — and was an engineer by trade. 

According to the Religious News Wire, the reason this story has gained so much traction in the press is because Lee Dingle's wife, Shannon, is a well-known Christian blogger. 


The outlet reports that Dingle considered himself a "family man" — he met his wife when they were teenagers, and had stayed with her ever since. They were parents to six children, and Lee Dingle, himself, was an engineer by trade. 

"The couple met in their late teens and went on to raise six children, four of whom were adopted, including a daughter, Zoe, who has cerebral palsy. Her adoption seven years ago from Taiwan was documented by the Archibald Project, which uses stories to educate people about orphaned and vulnerable children," reported the outlet.

Lee Dingle lived an honorable life.


3. Lee Dingle's death was considered a 'freak accident.'

According to People Magazine, it's very rare that a wave comes at a human being with such force that it breaks his/her neck, forces him/her into the sand, and stops him/her from breathing. Yet that's exactly what happened to Lee Dingle, which is why it was considered a "freak accident."

"An intense wave hit him just right to slam his head into the sand, break his neck, and make his throat swell so much his brain was deprived of oxygen for too long to recove. Some heroes — including our kids — tried to save him, but it wouldn’t have mattered what they did. His body couldn’t recover from the initial injury,” wrote Shannon, his wife. He died the next day," reported the outlet.

Lee Dingle's death was a "freak accident."


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4. The community showed its support to the Dingle family in the wake of Lee's death. 

According to The News Observer, when word got out about Lee Dingle's death, the community quickly came out in full force & showed its support to the family. 

"Community support has overflowed for the family of a Raleigh man who died Friday when struck by a wave while playing in the North Carolina surf with his children. By Tuesday afternoon, donors had contributed more than $254,000 to a gofundme account set up for Shannon Dingle, widow of Lee Dingle. The family friend who created the account had sought $200,000 to cover funeral expenses and provide temporary financial support for Shannon Dingle and the couple’s six children. A note on the account says donations above the goal will be given to the family," reported the outlet.

The GoFundMe was designed to help the Dingle family. 


5. Oak Island rescue said that they did everything they could to save Lee Dingle, but were unsuccessful. 

According to CBS17Oak Island Rescue made clear that they did everything they could to save Lee Dingle from his death. Shannon Dingle even said that she considered the Oak Island rescue amongst the heroes that tried to save her husband. However, despite their best efforts, they were unable to save him. 

6. He donated his organs after his death. 

According to The Today Show, Lee Dingle was a hero even after his death, because his family announced that his organs were donated. 

"Lee Dingle, the North Carolina dad who died in a freak beach accident on Friday, carried out his final act of kindness by donating his organs and tissues. The donation has the potential to save up to 75 lives, according to Danielle Niedfeldt, CEO and president of Carolina Donor Services, the organization that facilitated the recovery and placement of Dingle's organs," reported the outlet.

Our thoughts are with Lee Dingle and his family during this difficult time. 


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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.