Avondale Marine drowns while stationed in North Carolina

Lance Cpl. Justin Andrew Hinds, 28, of Avondale drowned in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, while stationed at Camp Lejeune. (Photo courtesy U.S. Marine Corps)

A Marine from Avondale has drowned in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, according to officials.

Lance Cpl. Justin Andrew Hinds, 28, was stationed at Camp Lejeune when, according to a police report, Emerald Isle police responded to a report of a swimmer in distress at 4:23 p.m. May 4 at the local beach.

By the time EMS and fire department personnel arrived on scene, Hinds had already been pulled from the water by friends, who had been performing CPR.

Hinds was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

In a statement released by Camp Lejeune officials, they confirmed Hinds’ position as an administrative specialist with Alpha Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion for Marine Corps Installations East.

He was a 2010 graduate of Westland Preparatory Academy (now known as Westwind Preparatory Academy) in Anthem. School officials declined to comment.

After graduation, Hinds joined the Army in June 2011 as a combat engineer. He deployed to Afghanistan between June 2011 and June 2012. He later joined the U.S. Army National Guard, where he served from April 2014 to December 2015, Lejeune spokesman Nat Fahy said. Hinds then joined the Marine Corps in January 2016.

For his service he received numerous awards including the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation and Combat Action Ribbon.

“The sudden loss of LCpl. Hinds is absolutely devastating for the entire command,” said Col. Scott Conway, commanding officer of H&S Battalion, in a statement.

“Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow Marines during this difficult time. My sincere hope is that his loved ones can take some comfort knowing what a profound impact he had on those with whom he served. He will be missed.”

Despite having issued minor warnings about wind — including yellow flags indicating a moderate risk of strong currents placed at the town beach parks — Emerald Isle police said the weather was normal.

The incident remains under investigation.