8-year-old goes missing while swimming in Long Beach

Search ongoing after boy disappears at Edwards Boulevard beach


The search for a missing 8-year-old boy who went swimming at Edwards Boulevard beach on Tuesday continued early Wednesday after rescue crews — including a NYPD dive team — scoured the water for hours.

The Coast Guard searched throughout the night by boat, officials said, and continued the effort Wednesday, along with a dive crew and Long Beach lifeguards and police.

“We’ll scour the shoreline all day,” said Paul Gillespie, the city's chief of lifeguards, after officials called off the search for Tuesday night just before 9:30 p.m., following a search that lasted more than three hours.

“Obviously, it’s just to give the family closure,” Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said. “The longer you’re in the water, the less chance of survival, and that’s why last night, at some point, it goes from a rescue operation to a recovery operation. Today is a wait and see.”

Kemins said that the boy, who has not yet been identified, had entered the water with his 11-year-old brother, and both became distressed while swimming near the jetty just before 6 p.m.

The older brother was removed from the water and taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside in stable condition, where he was joined by his mother, officials said.

"They were both in trouble," Kemins said. "I'm not sure if [the older brother] was helped out or got out on his own, but his brother never came out."

The incident triggered a massive search that included more than 50 Long Beach lifeguards, firefighters, police, the U.S Coast Guard, Nassau County and New York City police, as well as first responders and firefighters from the Town of Hempstead, Island Park, Wantagh, Atlantic Beach and East Rockaway.

Lifeguards are not on duty full time for the summer until the weekend, though Kemins said that 30 off-duty lifeguards were notified and rushed to the scene, as well as the Fire Department's water rescue team, who all joined a search that involved Jet Skis, boats, helicopters and divers.

The incident occurred on a sweltering day; hundreds of volleyball players lined the beach, and the boardwalk was crowded as rescue crews responded to the scene. Gillespie said that many of the players are off-duty lifeguards who rushed over to help.

"It was a warm day," Kemins said. "Unfortunately, lifeguards aren't on duty yet and people don't heed the warning and go in the water when there are no lifeguards on duty, and unfortunately, this is what happens."

"We had our lifeguards doing search chains through the water, looking for a victim under the water," Kemins said, adding that the boys were about 50 to 100 feet out in the ocean. "We did dives at the end of the jetties, as well as our Jet Skis, different boats were in the water, we've given every possible [effort] we could to locate this child."

"It's a big body of water, to try to find one victim," he added. "The conditions aren't great, there is very little visibility. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack."

Officials said it was unclear how the boys, who are believed to be from Hempstead, arrived at the beach and who they were with, but added that they were not with their parents.

Kemins said the Coast Guard and Police Department would lead Wednesday's search, which is now a recovery effort.

"For now, we're calling it for the night," Kemins said on Tuesday, adding that police and the Coast Guard would remain on the scene throughout the night.

In August 2016, 26-year-old Rudolfo Alverez, of Brooklyn, who was in Long Beach with a group of friends and co-workers, drowned at Edwards Boulevard beach after he became caught in a rip current. That incident occurred shortly after the beaches were closed to swimmers and lifeguards were off-duty.

Kemins said that the rip currents were rough on Tuesday, and added that water can be particularly dangerous near the jetties.

"It's the Atlantic Ocean ... you never put your guard down," he said. "The current is tough. If you don't know what you're doing ... you get in trouble quickly."