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Search resumes for 2 boys missing in waters off Galveston

GALVESTON, Texas – A search for two missing boys in waters off the coast of Galveston resumed Monday morning after low visibility forced crews to suspend the search Sunday night.

Galveston Island Beach Patrol and Galveston police were searching for the two boys, believed to be 11 and 16 years old, who were last seen in the water near 17th Street and Seawall Boulevard, police said. 

Chief Peter Davis, with the Beach Patrol, said the boys were likely taken underwater by a rip current.

Officials said the boys were swimming during an issue of a red flag warning due to predicted strong currents.

“They entered outside of the no swimming area, from what we can tell, and it sounds like as they got into trouble, they got caught in this rip current. They were pushed into the rock area, and that's where we have an offshore rip current that was pulling them out.”

The two boys are "presumed drowned," according to Davis. He said 80% of drownings are attributed to rip currents in Galveston.

Police said both boys are from Galveston and were visiting the beach with their children's shelter group.

KPRC reached out to the Children’s Center Emergency Shelter for a comment in regards to the drowning of the two young boys but our request was declined. Five kids from the shelter were believed to have been at the beach on a group trip with a supervisor.  

Glenda Stewart was visiting the beach Sunday night. She said the beach was packed and everyone was having a good time until the current carried the boys off.

"Everybody was just having fun, having a good time and we started hearing the yelling and we didn't really know what had happened until we walked further down," she said.

Stewart returned to the area Monday morning to pray for teens. 

The Department of Family and Protective Services has confirmed to KPRC that the drowning incident is under investigation. A background check into the shelter’s history of violations reveals a number of inadequate employee background checks.

Both the Beach Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard said crews will continue searching for the boys until they are found. Davis said the wind could pose a challenge with the recovery effort. The plan is to search 17th Street to the South Jetty. Should the weather change, the search could expand west.

If the bodies are not recovered before dark search crews will be out again looking for the bodies. 

“It's really going to be a matter of when they will resurface. We know in about (a) 5-mile range where they are but we don't know where specifically they are,” said Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis.