No active searches for missing 14-year-old swimmer, police say

No active searches for missing 14-year-old swimmer, police say

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Agencies are no longer conducting active searches for the14-year-old swimmer from Georgia who went missing in the ocean in Myrtle Beach Thursday, according to Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes.

Myrtle Beach police continue to monitor the area, but nothing has been located as of yet, Capt. Knipes said.

The missing swimmer will be identified through the coroner's office if his body is found, Capt. Knipes said.

The search began Thursday afternoon and continued overnight and through the weekend after a 14-year-old boy from Columbus, Georgia went missing while swimming in the ocean near 73rd Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.

Crews first responded to two swimmers in distress in the ocean at around noon Thursday.  Lifeguards and a bystander were able to rescue one of the swimmers, who is the younger brother of the swimmer who is still missing. The brothers are on vacation in Myrtle Beach from Columbus, Georgia, according to Lt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach Police.

"I heard curdling, curdling screams, and the one lifeguard came up, and he said, 'I got the one little boy; I could not get the other little boy.' He's devastated," said Terry Caviccho, a witness visiting from Pennsylvania.

Ryan Harris, a supervisor with Gene's Beach Service/Myrtle Beach Lifeguards, said Thursday began as a normal beach day.

"Conditions were typical," Harris said. "Maybe just a little worse than normal, but not enough to warrant pulling people out of the water by any means."

Harris said rip currents can pop up randomly and he said one started pulling the two boys away from the other swimmers. He said they hadn't been swimming far from shore.

"I think in that case it could've been a mixture of them being hung in a rip, stepping off a sandbar, kind of getting overhead and the mixture of the waves being a little bigger than normal," he said. "It probably just made for a mixture of a bad situation."

A lifeguard dove in to help them.

"The way it sounded, when he got out there, it was kind of a scene, and they were both kind of fighting for the buoy and one of them kind of went under," Harris said.

The lifeguard tried looking for that swimmer, but he couldn't find him, so he had to bring the one child on his buoy back to safety.

"By the time the other two [lifeguards] got there from the sides, he already went under and that's when we began to look for him," Harris said.

He said lifeguards dove at the end of human chains of volunteers from the beach.

"I could see the family. I could hear them," Harris said. "I could see the panic from everybody's faces on the beach."

Harris said he never responded to this kind of situation in 16 years of working with Gene's Beach Service.

"I've had situations where people have had heart attacks or broken necks or a lot of bad things happen, but that's the first one I've ever had where somebody went under in that spot and we couldn't find them," he said.

He said the lifeguard who initially responded is very experienced.

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