Crews find body of 21-year-old swimmer who disappeared near Wrightsville Beach

Updated: Jul. 22, 2019 at 4:36 PM EDT
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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – Search crews have found the body of a missing 21-year-old East Carolina student who disappeared while swimming near Wrightsville Beach over the weekend.

According to a news release from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the body of Ian William Malson was found around 2:30 p.m. in the water near Wrightsville Beach.

“This is an ongoing investigation and additional information will be released as it becomes available,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson stated.

Malson went missing around 10:40 p.m. Saturday as he and his friends were swimming near Palm Tree Island in the Intracoastal Waterway near Wrightsville Beach. Malson’s friends called for help once they realized he didn’t make it back to their boat.

Saturday night, the Coast Guard worked with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office to search for Malson by air and by boat.

At first light Sunday, they resumed the search, with help from local volunteers and a helicopter brought in from Elizabeth City.

The Coast Guard eventually suspended its search for Malson around 10:15 a.m. Sunday while crews with the sheriff’s office and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission continued searching.

Malson was studying construction management at East Carolina University, officials say.

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