The Atlantic Ocean claims a home in Cape Hatteras National Seashore

A home in Rodanthe near Cape Hatteras National Seashore was claimed by the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday/NPS

A home in Cape Hatteras National Seashore claimed by the ocean early Wednesday sent a field of debris more than 7 miles down the beach, prompting a warning to beachfront visitors as officials worked on a plan to remove the structure .

The home, with not quite 2,000 square feet of living space, was unoccupied when it collapsed just before 7 a.m. EST Wednesday, Cape Hatteras Superintendent Dave Hallec said.

“I’m not completely surprised. I’m surprised we weren’t aware of the state of the house before it collapsed, but if you walked on the beach in this area you would see that many of these homes on one regularly have their stilts, basically, in the water, often at high tide, but even in some cases at low tide,” the superintendent said in a phone call. “So to say they are steps from the ocean, in fact, is an exaggeration. They’re closer than that.”

From this angle you can see the precarious nature of the other houses along the beach/NPS

Most of the debris is at the site of the collapsed home, located at 24183 Ocean Drive, Rodanthe, the Seaside said in a statement. However, smaller amounts of debris were spotted as far south as all-terrain vehicle ramp 23, more than seven miles away, he added.

“What we’re dealing with now is a very large debris field. There’s a lot of debris just within sight of the collapse on the beachfront property, and then we’re not dealing to very rough seas, but a little northerly wind and swell from the north, which carried a lot of debris associated with the beach collapse,” Hallec said.

The collapse was just the latest calamity to hit the national coastline in recent weeks. Between January 25 and February 3, three ships ran aground on the beaches of the coast.