A 14-year old swimmer from Colombus, Georgia went missing Thursday shortly after 12:30 p.m. near 73rd Avenue North.
Lt. Joey Crosby of the Myrtle Beach Police Department said the missing swimmer has been described as a 14-year-old black male wearing blue swim trunks.
Crosby said they were called to the scene reference to two missing swimmers, who were brothers. The younger brother was rescued by a life guard, treated and released on the scene.
Georgia Teppert said she was boogie-boarding with her nephew when she heard screaming.
“My nephew called for one of the life guards and people went running,” Teppert said. “Everybody was evacuated from the ocean and we knew there was definitely a tragedy going on. I heard a lifeguard come up who was very distraught because he said he saved the one boy and he couldn’t get the other.”
A human chain was quickly organized to try and rescue the older brother.
We actually got in a big line and tried to help,” said Lexi May, who’s visiting from Kentucky and took part in the chain. “There were actually four lines. They were all hooked together so they wouldn’t get dragged down by the waves.”
Lifeguard Nick Jackson with John’s Beach Service said he helped organize one of chains about 35 to 40 minutes after the swimmer went missing.
He said it was one of the longest he had ever seen, at about 75 yards long with around 150 people.
“It serves as a net; you want to catch them in the net so to speak,” said Jackson. “Lock arms, swipe your feet along the bottom on the hopes that you run into him.”
Jackson said divers were searching the ocean floor when it became too deep for the chain to reach.
“We’re on a recovery mission right now,” he said.
Crosby said the boy’s family is in their hotel room and are being updated on the situation.
Christian Boschult, 626-0218, @TSN_Christian