2 Swimmers Missing, 1 Rescued Near Rockaway Beach in Queens

7 Online - October 02, 2019

ROCKAWAY BEACH, Queens (WABC) -- Search efforts will resume Wednesday morning after two teenagers were reported missing in the water near Rockaway Beach in Queens.

Emergency responders arrived just after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to search near Shore Front Parkway and Beach 96th Street

Three swimmers were initially reported missing, but one swimmer, a 15-year-old boy, was rescued. Police say two other boys, ages 15 and 16, remain missing.

Witnesses told police they saw the swimmers go into the water and they never came out.

Delsea Flowers, the aunt of one of the missing teens, came to the beach Tuesday night. "Drawn here to look, see if he's okay, if he's out there, if he's hanging onto something," she said.

"I was actually crying before I came here. Because my son knows him very well," said Ahmad Kaoyode, whose son is the other teen's best friend.

Surfers on Rockaway Beach during the afternoon were sure they heard something above the sound of the surf.

"Like a very panicky stressed call for help and we weren't sure, are they saying help?", said Good Samaritan Liz Winer. "So we paddled over and we saw his head above water and he looked really scared and he was being pulled further and further out."

"Four of us came together to try to help bring him to shore and you can tell from the conditions you shouldn't be out there unless you can swim and make sure you can get yourself to safety," said another of the surfers. "And it was really scary and you could tell he was very scared and he kept saying 'my friend my friend'. We didn't see anybody else. We looked, we didn't see anyone."

Police say the three teens went for a swim on their day off from school, but the stiff rip currents carried them out.

Rescuers from fire, police and the Coast Guard all rushed to find the missing swimmers but the surf was too strong and dangerous even for them.

Police pulled all the divers out of the water due to unsafe water conditions.

"They had 'em in the water on the ropes," said Rockaway Beach resident Eddy Pastore. "They were walking waist high in the water and someone was on shore with a rope making sure they weren't pulled out because it's really really dangerous. The rip currents are incredible today."

All police found of the two missing boys were backpacks that officers carried off the beach. After just over an hour, they called off the search for the evening Tuesday.