Bodies have been found off beaches on Long Island and New Jersey amid searches for two swimmers swept away in rough waters in what appears to be a pair of tragic accidents, authorities say.
Jevoney White, 19, of Queens vanished off Smith Point Beach on Long Island Sunday evening. Twenty-four-year-old Zuzana Oravcova of Slovakia, a student working at Jenkinson's boardwalk as part of a visa program, disappeared off Point Pleasant early Monday when she went for a swim with her boyfriend.
Authorities confirmed late Monday morning both bodies had been positively identified as the missing swimmers.
White was swept away around 6:45 p.m. Sunday. His body was found 20 feet from shore about 12 hours later.
A witness, John Rankin, said there are no lifeguards at the beach after 5:30 p.m. Sunday and everyone swims at his or her own risk. Rankin described a harrowing scene as the man struggled for his life.
"He had his hands in the air and he was trying to gasp for air," he said. "Then a wave had taken him under and I looked around and started panicking."
Rankin ran for help, but the next thing he knew the swimmer was under water and could no longer see him.
Meteorologists had issued a rip current warning along Smith Point Sunday afternoon, but it is unclear if rip currents played a role in sucking the swimmer under water. There is a moderate risk for rip currents Monday.