Crews search for 11-year-old last seen swimming off Myrtle Beach coast
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:07:19 GMT —
UPDATE: The search for the boy is now over. His body was located Monday morning, according to Myrtle Beach Police. Click here for the update.
Myrtle Beach Police and the Coast Guard began searching for an 11-year-old swimmer in Myrtle Beach around 8:40 Saturday night, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Soto with the Coast Guard.
Crews are searching in the vicinity of the Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort near 21st Avenue South.
The boy was swimming with a group of people and went under the water. The group told officers they did not see him resurface.
A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston was launched Saturday night to assist in the search, but the chopper did not stay throughout the night.
At first light Sunday morning, Myrtle Beach Police officers and lifeguards continued the search.
Police set up a perimeter around the search and staging area and ask that people on the beach avoid the area.
Rescuers continue to focus the majority of their effort right right offshore at 21st avenue South between 100 and 150 yards since they say that's where the boy was last seen.
"When someone's 100 to 150 yards out you have to get through the waves breaking and those initial moments are critical to get to someone," explained Corporal Allen Amick with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Amick added that another major challenge on Saturday night was the rapidly-approaching darkness. "The biggest challenge we faced last night was we only had about 45 minutes of daylight left prior to it getting completely dark and visibility was poor. Once it gets dark we cannot continue water operations due to safety reasons."
On Sunday, we spoke with Paul Sundo, visiting Myrtle Beach from Pittsburgh. Sundo said he saw the rescuers initial response on Saturday. "I happened to look down in this area and I saw the police vehicles with their red and blue lights on. I just assumed somebody got hurt and then later in the evening we were up on our balcony and we watched the Coast Guard helicopter go pretty much in between the two piers and then I figured it was some sort of rescue mission."
As a father himself, Sundo said the search for the missing boy hits home. "This is the first time I've ever seen anything like this on this beach so it makes me think and I'll hold him a little tighter tonight," Sundo said, adding that his prayers are with the boy's family and friends.