Last night, an hour after lifeguards went off duty, 14-year-old boy was swept out by a rip tide off Jacob Riis Park in Queens. WCBS 2 reports that while "the NYPD and the Coast Guard had choppers in the air Wednesday morning...the effort was downgraded from a rescue mission to a recovery search, as authorities fear that this will be the second drowning this month in unguarded waters." The first drowning is that of Nicole Suriel, the public school student who drowned off Long Beach.
Scott McLeish and his friends entered the water after 7 p.m.; lifeguards go off-duty at 6 p.m. His friends saw him in distress and tried to swim to him, but couldn't reach him. One told WABC 7, "He was saying 'Help, help, help.' And I went into the water to see if I could reach that far...I couldn't reach that far." Another told the Post, "We were just jumping over the waves and then a tall wave came and pulled us under. I don't think he could swim. I was trying to pick him up and he was screaming for help."
Last summer, three people drowned in the waters off Jacob Riis Park, including a father who was trying to save his 2-year-old. Fire Deputy Chief MIchael Halderman told WABC 7, "You swim out to the sand bar. You're on the sandbar and then you go out a little bit further and you're gone."