LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two young brothers went into the water off Long Beach on Long Island, but only one came out alive.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu heard from their heartbroken father Wednesday.
“I’m just going to go find my son and I’m going to get him out of the water,” Ramell McRae said.
Police said 10-year-old Ramell, originally identified as an 8-year-old boy, took a bus with his 11-year-old brother Jaquan to the beach from Hempstead, where they live. They were in the water when Ramell went missing just before 6 p.m. Tuesday near Ocean Beach Park.
“They should have just asked me. I would have just took them,” their father said, adding he didn’t know where they were going.
Rescue crews used jet skies and boats as lifeguards formed a human chain to scour the water for the child. Long Beach resident Mel Borowka witnessed the response.
“It was terrible,” he said. “There were a lot of people helping and looking and trying to do whatever they can to help.”
Officials said the area the boys were in is extremely dangerous.
“The conditions aren’t great in the water. There is very low visibility, so it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins. “There is a rip current, it’s the Atlantic Ocean. They went in the water near the jetties and that’s the most dangerous place to go in the water.”
Along with the dangerous conditions, there are currently no lifeguards on duty during the week with warning signs saying that swimming is not allowed, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported. Officials say Saturday is the first day of full-time lifeguards.
Despite the warning signs, Long Beach residents said more safeguards should be in place.
“There are drownings here constantly, yes, and again there’s big signs, ‘no using the beach, no swimming after 5,'” said Borowka. “I don’t want to have to tell you how many teenagers are out here swimming all night.”
“This is not a swimming beach. There should be more patrol here,” another woman said. “This is every year. When is it going to stop? What are they going to do to protect this community?”
“I think you have to watch your children, whether or not there’s a lifeguard,” said beach visitor Carol Hofman. “I do not take my eyes off of my children.”
The U.S Coast Guard suspended its search for the missing child Wednesday morning, after crews from multiple agencies spent 22 hours searching more than 310-nautical miles.
“It’s never easy to talk to a family when there’s a person missing,” said USCG Chief of Response Commander Andrew Ely. “That’s why we treat every one of these cases as if it’s our own.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound at 203-468-4401.