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Long Beach search for swimmer, 10, continues overnight

A water and air search was mounted for

A water and air search was mounted for a Hempstead boy who disappeared while swimming off Long Beach on Tuesday. Credit: Jim Staubitser

A 10-year-old Hempstead boy disappeared while swimming off Long Beach Tuesday, and the Coast Guard planned to search by boat through the night.

The Coast Guard called off its air search late Tuesday night and was to go back up in the air at daybreak.

“The child may not be able to wave his arms, but we’ll do our best to find him,” said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier.

Long Beach city officials, who called off their search just before 9:30 p.m., were also to return in the morning.

“We’ll be back in the morning to scour the shoreline,” Long Beach lifeguard chief Paul Gillespie said.

The boy and his 11-year-old brother were swimming near Ocean Beach Park, off Edwards Boulevard, when they became separated just before 6 p.m., Long Beach city officials said.

The water started getting rough and they both began struggling, police and fire officials said. As the older brother returned to shore, he looked back and didn’t see his brother, they said.

After about two hours of searching, Long Beach fire and police officials had deemed the effort a recovery mission. They pulled all lifeguards from the water, leaving divers, boats, Jet Skis and helicopters in the canvass.

The search, also conducted by the NYPD, Coast Guard and Nassau police, covered about a quarter-mile from shore and in water coves about 15 feet deep at the end of the jetty, authorities said.

The surface water was about 62 degrees, authorities said.

Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said the water wasn’t particularly rough, but choppy water and riptides always exist. “It’s the Atlantic Ocean. You never put your guard down,” he said.

The 11-year-old was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, where his mother joined him, officials said.

Police said they had many unanswered questions, including how the boys got to the beach. It appeared the children did not get there with their parents, police said, because officers had been trying to find their parents early in the evening.

Lifeguards aren’t on duty full-time until Saturday, when the beaches are fully open for the summer, city officials said.

Long Beach police and fire departments had been searching since they got a call about the missing boy about 5:50 p.m.

At one point, about 30 off-duty lifeguards also were in the water, along with Hempstead Town lifeguards, public safety officials and first responders from the Island Park, Wantagh, East Rockaway and Atlantic Beach fire departments.

The Coast Guard dispatched a small boat from its Jones Beach station, and two helicopters, one from Atlantic City and another one from Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

CORRECTION: The boy missing in the waters off Long Beach is 10 years old and the beaches are fully open for the summer on Saturday. In a previous version of this story, the age was incorrect based on information provided by authorities and the opening day was incorrect.

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