Michelle Kim

Desperate Search for 10-Year-Old Swimmer Missing at Long Island Beach Is Called Off

What to Know

  • A 10-year-old boy vanished in the waters off Long Island Tuesday
  • The boy had been swimming with his 11-year-old brother when the two began to struggle Tuesday evening; the older boy made it back to shore
  • There were warning signs at every entrance that swimming wasn't allowed without lifeguards on duty; lifeguards were not on duty Tuesday

The desperate search for a missing 10-year-old swimmer at a Long Island beach has been suspended after authorities' scouring of several miles to the east and west and out into the ocean turned up empty.

Nassau County divers started the morning Wednesday searching the area near the jetty where the 10-year-old boy was last seen Tuesday evening, but the team eventually had to end their search because the rip current there was so intense. 

The boy, Ramell McRae, and his slightly older 11-year-old brother, Jaquan McRae, were in the waters at Long Beach -- where swimming was off-limits Tuesday because lifeguards were not on duty -- and got caught in the powerful rip currents, according to Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins on scene. 

The older boy tried to hold on to his brother but the two were pulled apart, the fire commissioner said. The 11-year-old brother was able to make it to shore; the 10-year-old boy was not.

Chopper 4 is over Long Beach, where crews were searching for missing swimmers Tuesday evening.

Chopper 4 over the scene at Ocean Beach Park Tuesday showed the beach crawling with lifeguards and police vehicles. Rescuers were also out on boats and jet skis, searching the waters. A police helicopter was also in the air, aiding in the search.

The Coast Guard, NYPD Aviation, Nassau County Marine and Aviation, and Wantagh, Long Beach, North Cedarhurst, Inwood and East Rockaway fire departments all searched for the boy. The search wrapped up for the day around 9 p.m. Tuesday and resumed early Wednesday before authorities ultimately called off the search. 

The 11-year-old brother was taken to a hospital in Oceanside, where he's in stable condition, officials said. His mother was with him. 

Search for Missing Boy at Long Beach

The boys, who are from Hempstead, had taken the bus to the beach alone Tuesday, sources say. The Long Beach fire commissioner says it's a tragic reminder to everyone who comes to the beach.  

"No one should be swimming in the water while there are no lifeguards on duty, and unfortunately they did not heed the warning," said Kemins. 

Long Beach's beach season does not official start until Friday, when lifeguards will be out daily from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. until Labor Day. 

Ramell's mother and his aunts were seen visiting the beach Monday morning; the mother was wrapped in a towel, and searchers tried to comfort her. The Long Beach chief lifeguard didn't speak with her but says he had a frank conversation with the boy's aunts.

"I said they shouldn't have been down here by themselves, and they just cried, they didn't say much," said Paul Gillepsie.

Long Beach resident Ilene Klein said the situation was "heartbreaking."

10-year-old Ramell McRae, left, got separated from his brother, 11-year-old Jaquan McRae (right) while in the waters of Long Beach and has been missing since Wednesday

"To think your kids went to the beach and didn't come home," she said. 

Lifeguards have always advised swimmers caught in a rip current not to try to swim to the shore; instead, they should swim parallel to the coast until the current eases up. Gillepsie also says it's safer to swim in the middle of the jetties. 

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