2010-07-02 / Front Page

Brooklyn Youth Dies In Riis Park Surf

Non-Swimmer In Water Hour After Lifeguards Leave
By Howard Schwach

A 14-year-old Mill Basin boy was washed off a sand dune by a raging rip current on Tuesday evening and was still missing as The Wave went to press.

 

An FDNY diver enters the water to search for the missing 14-year-old Brooklyn youth who was pulled from the Riis Park shoreline by a rip current on Tuesday evening, an hour after the lifeguards had gone off duty for the day. Photo by Howard Schwach. An FDNY diver enters the water to search for the missing 14-year-old Brooklyn youth who was pulled from the Riis Park shoreline by a rip current on Tuesday evening, an hour after the lifeguards had gone off duty for the day. Photo by Howard Schwach. Scott McLeish and two friends were still in the water long after the lifeguards went off duty at 6 p.m., his friends say.

“We were jumping over the waves and having a good time, when a tall wave pulled us under,” said Dervon Humphrey, 16, who was with McLeish in the water. “I don’t think he knew how to swim, but he wanted to go into the water with the rest of us. I was trying to hold him up, but the waves pulled him out. He was screaming for help.”

Several people on the beach, including one park ranger, shed their clothing and jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue the young man.

An NYPD personal watercraft searches the surf for the missing youth. An NYPD personal watercraft searches the surf for the missing youth. “He went under and then came up choking. Then, he went down again and he was further out. [The rescuers] just could not reach him. He just kept coming up and yelling for help and then going under again,” one young woman on the beach, who declined to give her name, told a Wave reporter.

Fire department rescue swimmers and the NYPD aviation unit quickly responded and set up search grids in the fast-moving surf.

By dark, however, they still were not able to find the missing youth and the search was suspended until Wednesday morning.

This was the first recorded drowning on the Rockaway peninsula this year, although Long Beach, just to the east of Rockaway on the Atlantic Ocean shore, has seen at least three drownings and several water rescues this beach season.

Several of the missing youth’s friends are interviewed by a Channel 7 news reporter. Several of the missing youth’s friends are interviewed by a Channel 7 news reporter. There were seven ocean-related deaths on peninsula beaches last summer.

Humphrey said that McLeish had just finished his freshman year at Wingate High School in Brooklyn.
An NYPD search and rescue copter works the shoreline with an FDNY boat in the water further out to sea. An NYPD search and rescue copter works the shoreline with an FDNY boat in the water further out to sea.

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