Missing teen swimmer in Pawleys Island identified; DNR search to - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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Missing teen swimmer in Pawleys Island identified; DNR search to continue Wednesday

The search for the missing swimmer was called off Monday evening. (Source: WMBF News) The search for the missing swimmer was called off Monday evening. (Source: WMBF News)
According to Chief Doug Eggiman with Midway Fire Rescue, a 13-year-old boy was in distress in the water when his 16-year-old brother went to in to save him. (Source: WMBF News) According to Chief Doug Eggiman with Midway Fire Rescue, a 13-year-old boy was in distress in the water when his 16-year-old brother went to in to save him. (Source: WMBF News)

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) – The Georgetown County Sheriff's Department and Marine Patrol said Friday that they will continue to search for Courtney Dorsey. 

After searching all day Tuesday, the Department of Natural Resources will continue the search Wednesday for the teenage swimmer who went missing Sunday in Pawleys Island, if weather allows.

On Tuesday afternoon, the swimmer was identified as 16-year-old Maryville resident Courtney Dorsey by Pawleys Island Police Chief Mike Fanning.

Robert McCollough with DNR confirmed they searched on Tuesday using patrol boats and fixed-wing aircraft. They also requested jet boats.

After a little more than 24 hours, Midway Fire Rescue called off their search for the missing swimmer on Monday evening, according to a department official.

Authorities say they talked to the boy's family about how all search efforts were exhausted and decided that it was time to call off the search.

"We launched an all out rescue effort with all of our resources," Battalion Chief Carr Gilmore said.

Rescue crews have been looking in the waters along the south end of Pawleys Island after the boy disappeared beneath the waves Sunday afternoon.

They worked until it got so dark they couldn't see in the water, stretching their limits to find any possible sign of this missing swimmer.

"Part of the worst thing is the unknown and the guessing and the wondering," Gilmore said. "That's why a lot of our guys get in the fire service. They want to help people. It's not just about putting a band-aid on or trying to help someone with just a medical emergency. We try to be there for them emotionally as well. We had a talk with our guys last night and a couple of them feel bad...you know ,if we could have gotten the call quicker if we could have just moved quicker, maybe we could have made a difference."

The search resumed Monday from 2 to 4 a.m. with people walking the beach to see if the boy washed up as the tide went out. Then the search continued until just after 6 p.m. Monday night with crews using every available resource, including a drone from Georgetown County.

However, the search hasn't been without its challenges.

Traffic, miscommunication from callers about a location, and the weather all played roles in rescue crews' response times. But the water also impeded rescue efforts.

"We had really a good 4 to 6 foot pounding surf. We had a bunch of different rip currents that were obviously visible from our elevated positions," Gilmore said.

He believes a rip current or simply the strong current near the groins on the beach could have contributed to the swimmer's disappearance.

"Just the nature of those groins...you get a lot of rapidly moving water, and I think that's what lead to a part of the issue. They may have been overwhelmed and gotten further out than they realized, very, very fast," Gilmore said.

Authorities with Midway Fire Rescue say that as they worked on the beach last night and today, other agencies had to be pulled in to cover their territory.

"We actually had to use mutual aid from our neighboring departments, Georgetown County Emergency Services as well as Murrells Inlet, Garden City... actually provided fire protection and ems protection for our fire district while we had our entire department searching for this young fellow who went out to try to help his brother."

According to Chief Doug Eggiman with Midway Fire Rescue, a 13-year-old boy was in distress in the water when his 16-year-old brother went to in to save him.  

The 13-year-old swimmer was found and taken to the hospital but has since been released in stable condition. 

Authorities say they feel comfortable that there are no places that haven't been searched in that area. Now, it's just a waiting game for the family to get closure.

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