Local News

Franklin County couple dies in diving accident off NC coast

Posted May 12, 2020 10:07 a.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2020 6:37 p.m. EDT

— A Franklin County couple died Sunday while scuba diving off Cape Lookout, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Carla and James May were diving on the Box Wreck, about 25 miles off the coast, from a boat operated by Discovery Diving out of Beaufort.

The Mays were master divers, according to friends, and were capable of handling the dive, which was about 100 to 110 feet deep.

When they failed to surface at about 11 a.m., the boat's captain sent another diver down to check on them, and he found them unresponsive. CPR failed to revive them, and the Coast Guard station told the boat to return to Fort Macon, where paramedics again tried to revive the couple without success.

Carla May was a pharmacist with Piedmont Health in Chapel Hill. James May also was a pharmacist.

"Carla had a unique ability to work with people, and she was great at always finding a way to work with patients," said Carl Taylor, the pharmacy director for Piedmont Health. "It's not only a loss for Piedmont, it's certainly a personal loss and a loss for all of us in pharmacy."

Taylor said he learned of the Mays' death on Monday when Carla May didn't show up for work and he called the couple's daughter.

"I know they're all devastated. I talked to Amanda, and she said they are just all in shock," Taylor said. "They had been diving enthusiasts for some time. I know they had purchased a boat for diving, and it was something both of them liked to do."

Relatives said they are awaiting the results of autopsies, hoping to learn what caused the couple's deaths.

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