OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) – The U.S. Coast Guard is suspending its search for a 14-year-old boy from Philadelphia who went missing while swimming in the ocean in Ocean City Sunday evening.
After about 20 hours of searching more than 20 square miles surrounding the area of 9th Street, the Coast Guard suspended the search shortly before 4 p.m. Monday.
Numerous police and Coast Guard boats and helicopters spent the day searching for the boy, who was last seen around 7 p.m. Sunday in the water near 9th Street.
The boy was swimming with a group of friends and it is believed he may have been swept away by a rip current.
Officials say a group of swimmers entered the water off the 9th Street beach and they were quickly swept out to sea by the riptide. Others who entered the water to help were also caught up in the rip current.
Though rescue teams responded and were able to rescue 14 people from the water, it was then discovered that a 14-year-old boy was missing.
“There was multiple people in the water last night.” says OCBP Senior Lt. Dennis Swan.
Two ships were out in the water and helicopters were used as well when the search resumed Monday morning.
The Coast Guard also brought in a Cutter from Cape May to assist the water search.
Swan is the same lifeguard who recovered the body of a 13-year-old Philadelphia girl who drowned on 9th St in Ocean City in July 1999. That girl and another man from Philadelphia drowned on the same beach within two days of each other and both incidents happened when lifeguards were off duty.
A woman who called 911 spoke with CBS3 Eyewitness News:
“And we saw the children playing on the rocks, and we saw … we saw somebody fall in the water. We were not sure what happened, so we called 911. I don’t know what happened. I’m really sad.”
The other boys were able to make it back to shore.
There was no lifeguard on duty when the boy was in the water. On Sunday, posted lifeguard hours end by 5:30 p.m.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol says they will suspend their search for the boy at 5 p.m.
The Coast Guard says you should stay calm if ever caught in a rip current. When the waters calm down, you should then swim at an angle away from the current towards the shore.
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