Long Island police launched a criminal probe into the tragic drowning of a 12-year-old girl during a school trip to the beach, according to a published report.
Nicole Suriel and her classmates won the trip as a reward for bringing in the most money in a school fundraiser, but just minutes after the eager group arrived at Long Beach, a strong riptide pulled Suriel out into the ocean. Officials found her an hour and a half later.
Authorities are investigating whether the teacher, substitute teacher or intern who organized the trip and escorted the group engaged in any criminal behavior. Students told investigators one of the adults said they could go into the water if they stayed in a specific area, despite the clear posting of no swimming signs all over the beach.
"We're looking to see if any of the adults involved in this have any criminal responsibility," a source with knowledge of the situation told The New York Post. "There's a crime called endangering the welfare of children, and it's hard to see how this doesn't fit that description."
Neither the Department of Education nor the United Federation of Teachers could immediately be reached for comment. No charges have been filed at this point.
No lifeguards were on duty when the sixth-graders from Harlem's Columbia Secondary School descended on the sand because the summer season hasn't officially started.
Still, just days after Suriel's tragic death, three swimmers were pulled from the waters off Long Beach after a sandbar collapsed, according to the Post. Lifeguards were on hand for some pre-summer prep work so managed to rescue the individuals, one of whom remained in critical condition last night at a local hospital.
Meanwhile, mourning family and friends will gather today for the funeral of the 12-year-old Suriel.