Search for Missing Teen on Tybee Ends in Tragedy - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Search for Missing Teen on Tybee Ends in Tragedy

By Tuquyen Mach

The search is, sadly over for a teenager who went missing while out on Tybee Island Beach Monday afternoon.

The 15 year-old boy was out with friends when he was swept away by the rising tide.

His body was found shortly before 11:00 p.m. about 100 yards from where he was last seen.

About two dozen people combed the waters in the search for the Savannah boy.

"We've got strong winds. We've got strong currents. We've got cool water temperatures right now," said Chief Skip Sasser with the Tybee Fire Department.

Authorities say the teen was with three friends in the south channel when he went missing just before 3:00 p.m.

"He got caught with one of the undercurrents and just got washed away," says Chief James Bodenrader with the U.S. Coast Guard station Tybee Island.

The search included the Coast Guard, Tybee Island Fire and Police, the Department of Natural Resources and Chatham County Marine Patrol.

"The Coast Guard helo put a data marker buoy and to measure and try to gauge where and how far the currents are bringing that buoy up the river," said Bodenrader.

Authorities say the boy and his friend were out walking in what they thought was a shallow area, but what officials say people don't realize is how quickly the tide moves in.

"When the tide comes in it creates a strong current right out here, and people who are not familiar with this island or not locals, they don't know. They want to cross over the sandbar, because it looks very inviting. It looks like a whole new beach. They get out there and the tide starts coming in they get trapped," says Lt. Hunter Robinson with Tybee Ocean Rescue.

His friends told authorities the teen could not swim. "Very limited ability in any kind of water skills and unfortunately ended in a tragedy," says Sasser. Tybee's Ocean Rescue crews are not out patrolling Tybee beaches until May.

Authorities have not released the teen's name.

The following was released by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Body discovered that matches description of missing swimmer

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. - The Department of Natural Resources recovered the body of a young man that matches the description of a swimmer who went missing near Tybee Island Monday afternoon.

The name of the deceased is being withheld following proper notification of next-of-kin.

The Coast Guard was initially notified by a friend of the missing swimmer at 3:07 p.m., Monday, who reported that the swimmer failed to surface while attempting to return to shore.

A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Savannah, Ga., two Coast Guard rescue boat crews from Station Tybee Island, Tybee Island Marine Rescue, Tybee Island Fire and rescue crews and The Georgia Department of Natural Resources searched for the missing swimmer.

The Tybee Island police department are investigating the cause of the death. The Coast Guard recommends to always stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard. Never swim alone. If you should get caught in a current, do not try to swim against it, swim gradually out of the current by swimming parallel to the shore until clear of the current.

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