SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) –A 14-year-old boy from Ohio who nearly drowned in Surfside Beach in July passed away about a month later at a Charleston hospital, his family confirmed.
A website set up after the incident stated that Evan McReynolds passed away on the evening of Monday, August 19 at the Medical University of South Carolina. A funeral was held on Akron, Ohio on August 24.
On Saturday, July 13, at around 8:45 p.m., the Surfside Beach Police Department received a call from the family of a swimmer in distress in the beach near Fourth Avenue South, according to Chief of Police Rodney Keziah.
Surfside Beach Police Department officers arrived on the scene to assist members of Surfside Beach Fire and Horry County Rescue who were already on-scene.
According to Chief Keziah, McReynolds, 14-year-old boy from Ohio, had been in the water with family and lost footing in a possible rip current. He then went under water and was not seen for approximately 15 minutes. Chief Keziah later said the boy must have been out in the water for several minutes, struggling before he was found. Officers launched SBPD's waverunner for a perimeter search, assisted by members of HCPD's Beach Patrol, and additional assistance was requested from Horry County Rescue and the US Coast Guard.
The additional assistance from multiple agencies was said to be one of the reasons they were able to find the teen, according to Surfside Beach Police Lt. Kenneth Hofmann
Beachgoers who were nearby, as well as officers on all-terrain vehicles assisted by searching the shoreline north and south of where the swimmer was last seen. One of the volunteers included Paul Adkins from Ohio.
"We felt like we were out in the dark, angry water looking for a body is what we thought we were doing," Adkins said. He admitted he thought there was no hope of a rescue.
Officers transported a portable lighting system to the beach and set it up for additional lighting that helped to locate the McReynolds approximately 15 feet from shore. Officers pulled the swimmer to shore where he was given CPR immediately. Police said EMT's got a pulse on the boy while transporting him to the hospital.
Chief Keziah released the following statement to all who assisted in the search: "Surfside Beach truly appreciates the assistance of all the people who worked to help this young man and his family. This includes members of the Surfside Beach Fire Department as well as Horry County Police, Fire/Rescue, and nearby citizens. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family".
That weekend, lifeguards in Surfside and Garden City had approximately five saves. In Myrtle Beach, guards were busy with about 40 rescues and in North Myrtle Beach from Friday till Sunday they had 11 saves.
Beach Service LTD is in charge of supplying the nine lifeguards who patrol Surfside and Garden City. Jason Cody with the service said the reason there has been so many saves is because the ocean has been rougher lately.
Cody attributes the rougher ocean to the wind not coming out of the usual South, "when the wind is coming up out of the east or northeast like it has been the last several days it pushes more water on to the beach. Sandbars get compromised, and tide pools and swash run offs develop."
Last week, Kamaria McReynolds and other McReynolds family members expressed their thanks for those who donated to a fund set up for Evan:
"I just want to take this time to thank everyone for all your prayers, love, and support. Every sacrifice was GREATLY appreciated. I can't express with words how thankful I am for all the love that was shown to me and my family. Thank you all so much for the donations that were used for Evan's homegoing. God's ways are perfect. Thank God he made it to Gloryland and won the victory! It won't be long before we join Evan in heaven along with all of our loved ones!"