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Survivor Of Rockaway Beach Tragedy Speaks About Death Of Best Friend

Akeem Brown (credit: CBS 2)

Akeem Brown (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The lure of the beach — and the current — proved too much for a pair of teenage boys. One of the boys is now left living with regret, mourning the loss of his best friend.

On Thursday night, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis talked to the survivor of the tragedy on Far Rockaway Beach.

The last place anyone saw 15-year-old Akeem Craig of Jamaica, Queens alive was just before he was pulled under by the crashing waves.

“It’s very hard and I miss him,” said Akeem Brown, the boy’s friend.

His best friend by the same name is heartbroken and traumatized. The 15-year-old tried desperately to save his friend from drowning in the current. His last words were “Don’t let me go, don’t let me go.”

“It’s really sad what happened. My heart goes out to the family to the grieving family, it really does,” said Desrene Stephens, Brown’s mother.

Brown’s mom said she is trying to support her son. He and his freind were classmates at August Martin High School in Far Rockaway. They left early on Tuesday, the last day before summer break, and headed to the beach, with its strong currents and no lifeguards on duty.

But the rain, the wind and the water were just too strong and because Akeem Craig couldn’t swim, Brown risked his own life to save him.

“That’s how he is, he’s always looking out for people. I can’t tell him not to do that, that wouldn’t be right,” Stephens said.

The beach is clearly marked with red flags indicating the dangerous rip current, but the teens just wanted to celebrate the last day of school, Brown’s mother said.

“They need to start listening because if they don’t listen, the parents are the one’s left mourning,” Stephens said.

Brown’s mom said that’s the tragic lesson. Had both boys stayed in school or gone straight home and not to the beach, Akeem Craig might still be alive.

Akeem Craig’s drowning was the first at a New York City beach this season.

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