Seaside Park police, the Coast Guard, lifeguards and fire officials have ended a search for a missing swimmer who apparently disappeared in the surf off O Street around 3 p.m. this afternoon, Police Chief Francis Larkin said.
Larkin confirmed that the missing swimmer is an 18-year-old male who had gone to the unguarded beach this afternoon with three other friends.
“Local scuba teams and fire departments responded," Larkin said. "The U.S. Coast Guard sent two cutters down, along with helicopters. The State Police also responded to the area.”
Borough lifeguards start full-time on Thursday, he said.
"The lifeguards begin their summer tomorrow," Larkin said.
The three friends were pulled from the surf, but the fourth failed to surface, he said.
Rip currents in the area were especially strong this afternoon, the chief said.
"It's very unusual for this time of year," Larkin said. "It's usually September when we see this."
Coast Guard helicopters hovered over the ocean, and rescue personnel appeared to be conducting a grid search.
“The search has been suspended at this time by the local fire departments and pending any further developments during the night the search may resume at first light tomorrow,” Larkin said.
There were roughly 33 lifeguards in the water up until 6:49 p.m., conducting a line search heading north towards towards Seaside Heights.
Larkin said swimmers should be aware of and know what to do when they they are in one.
“People should know before they go," he said. "Know your surroundings. Get on the Internet and find it all out. Know what you’re getting into before you get into it.” he said.
Due to the high risk of rip currents, lifeguards made between 8-10 saves as well as helping to conduct the search.
Come back to Patch later for more information on this developing story.