SHIRLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The body of a missing swimmer who was last seen off Smith Point Beach on Long Island has been found.
Police said the body of 19-year-old Jevoney White of Queens was located Monday morning by a Suffolk County park ranger on the east side of the Old Inlet Breach off Fire Island.
Police said he went missing around 6:45 p.m. Sunday after going into the water with a group of friends at Smith Point County Park.
“They just saw him disappear basically,” one woman, who did not want to be identified, told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. She was on Smith Point Beach moments after White went under. “One of the friends told me they too had a struggle with the tide.”
Park rangers say both White and his girlfriend were struggling to stay above water. One of rangers was able to swim out and rescue the teen’s girlfriend, bringing her to shore, but despite her best efforts the ranger wasn’t able to save the other teen.
“The girlfriend was really crying,” the woman said. “All I could do is comfort her with prayers.”
An extensive search was conducted overnight by Suffolk County marine and aviation units, the Coast Guard, park rangers and other agencies. The search resumed early Monday morning before the teen’s body was found.
The O’Neills, who have been coming to the beach for 30 years, say the water is tough even for the most seasoned swimmers.
“You can’t swim without lifeguards, it’s very dangerous,” said Brian O’Neill. “All the time.”
But it also makes it a challenge for lifeguards.
“It’s a battle as the crowds grow heavier and heavier and move further east,” said Suffolk County Parks Chief Lifeguard Robert Kolar.
The Ocean Rescue Team is hosting the Long Island Lifeguard Championship on the beach Monday.
“To hone our skills so on these big days when there are heavy rip currents and people, we’re ready to go,” Kolar said.
As the missing teen’s family went to identify his body, beachgoers are even more aware and cautious.
“You just don’t take any chances,” said Lisa O’Neill. “It’s just not worth it.”
White’s body was taken to the medical examiner to determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile in a separate incident on the Jersey shore, Toms River police say they believe they have found the body of another missing swimmer off Point Pleasant Beach.
Police said two off-duty lifeguards found what investigators presume is the body of 24-year-old Zuzana Oravcova, an exchange student from Slovakia, who disappeared while swimming with a 23-year-old man early Sunday morning.
Both were struggling with the rough surf, but police said the man was able to make it to shore on his own. The Coast Guard searched for Oravcova, but those efforts were suspended Sunday evening.
The rip current risk is expected to be moderate for swimmers on Monday.