Father of six dies in freak accident when wave slams him into the beach

Eleanor Rose

A father of six has died after a freak accident in North Carolina when a wave struck him and slammed him to the ground.

Lee Dingle, 37, was knocked off his feet by the wave while on an outing at Oak Island. He hit the beach with such force that his neck broke and his throat swelled.

The blood flow to his brain was constricted and, although he was rushed to hospital, he died the next day from his injuries.

His partner Shannon Dingle wrote on Twitter and Instagram: "Lee was playing on the beach with three of our kids yesterday, and an intense wave hit him just right to slam his head into the sand and break his neck.

"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."

Emergency services were on the scene providing medical care within minutes, according to a post by Oak Island Water Rescue on Facebook.

The couple had known each other since they were teenagers, she said in a moving tribute to her husband.

Lee Dingle died on a family trip to the beach at Oak Island, pictured (Doug Anderson / Wikipedia)

"I don’t know how to be a grown up without him, but I’ll learn. I just wish I didn’t have to," she wrote.

Mr Dingle was father to six children, four of whom are adopted, and was president of Atlas Engineering in Raleigh, North Carolina, which works to repair damaged buildings.

Ms Dingle is a writer who has contributed to USA Today, the Washington Post and Teen Vogue on topics including disability and sex trafficking.

Friends set up a GoFundMe page for the grieving family to help pay for a funeral and other costs, writing: "Lee loved and lived generously.

"The magnitude of this loss cannot be understated. Please help care for his family in his absence."

It had raised more than $150,000 by the time of writing.