Jill Chenet drowns in tragic accident

Jill Chenet (Photo Virginia Pilot courtesy the Bailey family)

It was about 6:45 Wednesday evening when the 911 call came in for two swimmers in distress.

According to the National Weather Service, the rip current threat was low at the beach near Cape Hatteras National Park.

Jill Chenet, 31, and her husband 37-year-old Matthew Chenet went for a swim. She was 6-months pregnant with their first child, a daughter who they planned to name Olive.

According to the family’s priest, Jill stepped off the ledge of a sand bar and was swept under.

Father Jim Parke, who married the couple just five years ago, got the call from Chenet's mother.

"I got a frantic call from Barbara saying something very bad had happened in the outer banks,” he says.

Chenet's husband struggled to save his wife, fighting the current. Twenty minutes later, when help arrived, the couple were both floating face down about 20 yards off shore.

Rescuers were unable to revive the soon-to-be mother.

Both victims were flown to Central Hospital in Norfolk, where Jill Chenet and her baby were pronounced dead.

Matthew Chenet was released from the hospital Friday.