GALVESTON – An 8-year-old is presumed to have drowned after he went missing while at the beach with his family, Galveston Beach Patrol confirmed Tuesday.
Coast Guard is searching for the 8-year-old boy after he was caught in a rip current on 37th and the Seawall around 7:32 p.m. The child was last seen wearing black shorts, officials said.
Galveston Island Beach patrol was joined in the search for the boy’s body by a helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard.
“At 7:42, we got a call from the 911 dispatcher,” said Peter Davis, chief of Galveston Island Beach Patrol.
Davis said that was around the same time lifeguards were wrapping their day driving along the sea wall to tell swimmers they were off duty. Davis said two lifeguards then saw a group, including children, swimming in a no-swimming area leading up to a groin at 37th Street.
“They went down started PA’ing them and while they were PA’ing them one of the two lifeguards spotted the body of the little boy floating at the end of the groin,” Davis said.
The lifeguard jumped in but no longer could see the boy, prompting a search that stretched well into the dark of night.
“The lifeguards were pulled out really quickly in the same area where they were diving down trying to find him. It was pretty deep cause the rip current had taken the sand with it, too, so it’s deep like that,” Davis said.
The conditions were ripe for a red flag warning along the Seawall, which makes the search tough, Davis added.
“We’re looking at continuing this for the next day or two.”
This is the second death linked to rip currents in as many weeks in the Houston area.
Last week, Elijah Posana, an airman in the U.S. Air Force died at Surfside Beach.
Back in Galveston, Peter Davis stressed being clear on where it is safe to swim is paramount — even a matter of life or death.
“Follow those safety rules. Stay away from those rocks. Swim near a lifeguard. Don’t swim alone,” Davis said.