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Mass. couple dies after being pulled from Seabrook riptide

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 21. 2018 9:57AM
Saint Francis Church of Dracut, Mass., posted this photo of Michael and Laura Cote on Facebook on Monday. The couple, pulled from the ocean off Seabrook Beach on Sunday afternoon after being caught in a riptide, died after being transported to area hospitals -- Michael Cote on Sunday and Laura Cote on Monday. (COURTESY)

A couple from Methuen, Mass., died after being pulled from choppy waters off Seabrook Beach on Sunday, authorities said.

Laura Cote, 47, died at Portsmouth Regional Hospital on Monday morning, Marine Patrol said. Her husband, Michael Cote, 49, was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Mass.

“At this time, it appears that water conditions may have been a factor in this incident. However, all aspects still remain under investigation,” a news release from Marine Patrol stated Monday.

The couple was visiting friends at Seabrook Beach, where four other swimmers in the area of 131 Ocean Drive needed to be rescued around 12:25 p.m., authorities said.

“A Seabrook police officer, a Hampton lifeguard and several Good Samaritans were able to help the six swimmers to shore,” according to the release. “Four of the six were not injured, but two swimmers were unconscious when they were brought to shore and CPR was started.”

Seabrook Town Manager Bill Manzi said “riptide was the issue.”

“It’s certainly a very sad event,” Manzi said.

He said officials are evaluating the need for lifeguards and other safety provisions at the public beach after the incident.

Manzi said he has asked police and fire officials to prepare a presentation for the board of selectmen about what must be improved upon. The town beach currently has signs stating that no lifeguards are on duty.

On Monday, Rev. Sean Maher, pastor at St. Francis Church in Dracut, Mass., posted a message on the church’s Facebook page identifying the couple as members of the parish.

“We are deeply saddened to have learned last night and today that Michael and Laura Cote, both truly devoted followers of Christ, have passed away following the swimming incident at Seabrook, New Hampshire,” reads the post.

“They did so much to come to know Jesus and His and our Father in this life that they are truly going to meet a Friend. They were so involved in every spiritual and other undertaking in this parish that many of us are in deep mourning,” the post said.

The church planned to hold a Holy Hour to pray for the couple Monday at 7 p.m. with Eucharistic Adoration, praying of the Holy Rosary and a Benediction.

Tributes to the couple from fellow members of their church began appearing on social media Monday as news of their death spread.

“This is so sad,” Ann Lessieur posted. “Mike and Laura were instrumental in my adult confirmation. May they rest in peace.”

“My heart aches for their family,” Lisa Matte wrote. “I sat behind them in church all the time.”

“They were our neighbors and Michael was my children’s friend when he and his family lived across the street,” Carol-Ann Ramirez wrote. “Praying for the whole family.”

There will be a hole in our parish life,” Rich and Cindy Westhoff wrote. “They were such a treasure.”

Union Leader Staff Writer Michael Cousineau contributed to this report.

Public Safety Deaths in the news Swimming Obituaries General News Seabrook

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