Dad dies in Caribbean boating accident months after wife’s death, NC friends say

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Screengrab from Rob Safford's Facebook

A 33-year-old single father from North Carolina died in a boating accident in the British Virgin Islands, friends and officials say.

Robert Owen Safford was found unresponsive the night of Wednesday, March 22, in the water near Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, according to the Royal Virgin Islands Police. He had injuries to his head.

Rescuers attempted to resuscitate Safford, but he was pronounced dead, police said. The boat he was in was found circling in the area.

Safford was a single dad to one daughter, according to a loved one’s Facebook post. He also helped raise his 16-year-old stepson for 10 years, a family member told McClatchy News.

“You know those sad stories you see in movies. This one beats that,” the loved one wrote.

Safford’s wife died June 22 from cancer, exactly six months before his death, the family member said.

Friends shared tributes for Safford, who also served in the Marine Corps.

“Rob you were one of the baddest dudes I ever met,” one Facebook post said. “You always gave it your all, you loved being a Marine more than anything, and you deserved more and you went for more.”

“We lost another great one way to soon in a tragic boat accident while on vacation. You will forever be in our hearts,” another person posted.

“He was a great man, it’s an honor to say I served with him and call him my Brother,” a third person wrote in a Facebook comment.

The British Virgin Islands are off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico.

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