What to Know
- A 31-year-old man went missing in the waters off Long Beach on Long Island early Monday, the Coast Guard says
- The swimmer's friends made it back to shore safely, but notified authorities after the man never returned to the beach
- It's about two blocks away from where a 10-year-old boy is believed to have drowned last week
Authorities have suspended their search for a swimmer who went missing off the coast of Long Island, less than a week after a boy is believed to have drowned in the same area.
The 30-year-old swimmer from Brooklyn, Neil Gibbons, was last seen with friends in the waters off Long Beach, near Long Beach Boulevard, around 2 a.m. Monday, the United States Coast Guard said. He was last seen wearing a beige swim suit.
His friends were able to make it back to shore and notified authorities, the Coast Guard said.
The waters were so rough that officials searched by boat and air.
"It was very bad last night," said Paul Gillespie, chief lifeguard at Long Beach. "No one should have gone in last night, especially with no lifeguards there, which we have that problem, unfortunately."
Lifeguards are on duty, but only from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
After searching more than 650 miles for 29 hours, the Coast Guard called off the search Monday night for Gibbons, a native of Ireland.
"After searching extensively throughout the night and daylight hours, in coordination with our partner agencies, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our search," said Cmdr. Andrew Ely, chief of response, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound.
The search efforts comes less than a week after a 10-year-old boy went missing while swimming about two blocks away.
Ramell McRae, and his slightly older 11-year-old brother, Jaquan McRae, were in the waters at Long Beach -- where swimming was off-limits last week because lifeguards were not on duty -- and got caught in the powerful rip currents, according to officials.
That search has since been suspended, but on Sunday a child's body was found in the water. Authorities are working to determine if it's that of Ramell.
Search for Missing Boy at Long Beach
The Coast Guard urges anyone who enters open water to wear a life jacket, saying the ocean can be unpredictable and overtake even the strongest swimmer, even near the shoreline.