LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In the second time in less than a week, crews were searching for a missing swimmer in the water off Long Beach on Long Island on Monday.
The Coast Guard says 31-year-old Neil Gibbons, of Ireland, was last seen swimming with friends in the area of Long Beach Boulevard and Shore Road around 2 a.m. Monday.
Investigators say Gibbons was part of a group of four hanging out at the beach. Three of them went into the water to swim, but the surf was turbulent and dangerous.
“They knew they were getting in trouble. They got out and when they turned around, their friend was gone and they couldn’t locate him,” said Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins. “They spent about 10 or 15 minutes looking for him before they notified 911, in which time we were notified.”
Search teams from Long Beach joined by the Coast Guard, Nassau County marine units and the NYPD Aviation Team searched the dark, choppy water that officials say was too dangerous for dive teams.
“And that’s why we didn’t really put anybody, swimmers, in the water at this point,” Kemins said.
Rescue teams scoured the water by boat joined by patrols along the beach but late in the day, officials announced they had suspended the search for Gibbons.
On Sunday, crews recovered the body of 10-year-old Ramell McRae, Jr. He went missing last week while swimming with his brother just a couple of blocks away from Monday’s scene. Lifeguards were not on duty at the time.
For those at the beach and boardwalk, it’s a reminder of the power of the ocean.
“Kids, even grown ups, do this just to have a good time,” one woman said. “They don’t think of the consequences”
Anyone with information about Monday’s case is asked to call Sector Long Island Sound at 203-468-4401.