A teenage swimmer has died after being pulled from the rough surf at Rockaway Beach Wednesday afternoon, police say.
Divers were deployed to the scene at Beach 67th Street at about 3 p.m. after getting a call about an 19-year-old man who went under the water and didn't resurface, according to the FDNY. Rescuers found the man about an hour later.
Divers paddled the teen to the shore, where paramedics tried to revive him, Chopper 4 footage over the scene shows. Officials said he was taken to St. John's Episcopal Hospital, where he died.
FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Cunningham said the water is deceptively deep in that stretch of the beach, and he believes that played a role in the teen's drowning.
"This particular beach, down by the jetty, a sandbar will form around it, you'll walk out and you'll think you're fine, the water will be up to your waist. And before you know it, the sandbar will end and you drop off -- the water drops eight to 10 to 12 feet. We believe that's what happened to the victim," he said.
A woman at the beach said the teen's friends ran up to her asking her to call 911 because they feared they would get in trouble.
"They were just drinking and going swimming on the rocks," said Colleen Zou of Far Rockaway. "They came back and they were like, their friend is out there, his head was bobbing in and out, and when the waves came it just kind of took him and they don't know where he went."
Police apparently anticipated students would be playing hooky to head to Rockaway Beach on the first summery day of the season: NYPD truancy officers waited at the foot of the Addabbo Bridge Wednesday morning to sweep incoming city buses for students who cutting school, DNAInfo reports.
Lifeguards aren't posted at the beach until Memorial Day, and officials urge anyone going to the beach before then to swim with caution.
The victim was initially said to be 18 years old; officials later corrected his age to 19.