by Robin Rieger
ATLANTIC CITY (CBS) — The U.S. Coast Guard, Atlantic City fire crews and N.J. State Police searched the waters, including the jetty at the Martin Luther King Avenue beach, on board boats with sonar equipment again on Monday. They’re hoping for any sign of 10 year old Khitan Devine, who went missing after going into the water with his family around 7 p.m. Sunday night (see previous story).
“When they went in the water, the other bathers that he was with got swept over top of the jetty by the currents and tide. He didn’t; he went under. There’s a possibility that he’s still pinned here in this general area,” said Atlantic City Fire Chief, Dennis Brooks.
Family members waited on the beach for any word from searchers.
According to state police, Devine came up to Philadelphia to spend the summer with his father. The family had come right to the beach from church Sunday because Devine wanted to swim.
“For us on the beach patrol, it’s a tragedy of the first magnitude,” said Beach Patrol Chief Rod Aluise.
He says that in the last 30 years, he can recall only one drowning while lifeguards were on duty, which is why he offers this advice to visitors: “The greatest thing that people can do to be safe is never go in the water when lifeguards are not visibly present.”
Good Samaritans rescued Devine’s sister, who was hospitalized with water in her lungs Sunday night.
Officials say the family might have encountered a rip current. “It can take you down, a senior citizen or a child, you’re down, you’re rolling, you’re going,” said Aluise.
Staying calm can save your life.
“If you have the sense of mind to turn parallel to the beach and doggy paddle or backstroke and go down a few yards, you’re gonna stop going out,” said Aluise.
Conditions in the midday became choppy from the wind, making visibility underwater difficult. State police divers will search around the jetty at low tide this evening if conditions allow.