NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A massive water search came to a tragic end Tuesday. A Staten Island teenager died after disappearing in the waters off Staten Island, police said.

A hole in a fence was a gateway to tragedy for Vaughan Mitchell. The 15-year-old slipped through it to get into the water off New Brighton. His family is devastated.

“For this to happen…came as a shock,” the victim’s brother told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

Shirley Scott said her niece, Mitchell’s ex-girlfriend, was with the victim and two other boys. They were playing along the water off Richmond Terrace and Jersey Street. Scott said her niece tried to save the boy.

“She kept telling him ‘Don’t get in, don’t get in.’ He went in anyway. She threw him a stick or something, but apparently the under current took him under,” Scott said.

Witnesses said Mitchell’s ex-girlfriend called 911. Harbor crews and divers searched the water near the St. George Ferry terminal for nearly an hour before discovering the teen’s body.

“He didn’t look like he was breathing. They were trying to revive him, but there was nothing they could do,” witness Robin Burges said.

“It was a scary sight…He didn’t get to live his life. It’s not right. Not right at all,” said witness Saxon Allen.

Police are still investigating but they said so far they’re handling the drowning as an accident.

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