Myrtle Beach helicopter tour business aids in search for missing swimmer

Myrtle Beach police are in the middle of the second day of their search for a swimmer who went missing off the coast yesterday.

Sgt. Phillip Cain with the beach patrol division of Myrtle Beach police says the call came out at 6:30 p.m. Saturday for two 25-year-old men in the ocean at the 2600 South block of the beach. By the time they arrived on scene, witnesses said one man made it back to shore, the other did not. They're not releasing the swimmer's name at this time. Sunday patrols were searching mostly by air and land.

Tourist attraction Huffman Helicopters is joining the search. Owner Jeremy Bass says they assist every time there is a call for a swimmer in distress, which can be as often as once a week once tourist season begins, he says.

"The local municipalities don't really have the resources to have an aerial search team, the equipment, and man power. So we're glad to donate the time whenever necessary," Bass says.

He adds they do not get paid, and that the employees that are conducting the search and rescue are specially trained in search in rescue, mainly with a law enforcement or military background .

"We have what's called sterile cockpit we're not talking, where as a tour we'd be showing sights and points of interest,"Bass adds. "You're much lower down, you're really close to the water so you can spot the swimmer that you're looking for."

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was also searching by plane Sunday afternoon. As of Sunday evening, Cain says the search is strictly on land, following some bad weather. If police receive more tips, aerial crews will be sent out again.

"Anything suspicious that you see in the water, please call us so that we can investigate it," Cain said.