A group of individuals entered the water of an unprotected beach off 9th Street in Ocean City Sunday evening, around 6:45 p.m. and quickly got caught in a rip tide and swept out from the beach.
Several others who attempted to help them also get caught in the rip tide, according to the Ocean City Department of Fire and Rescue Services.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol Rapid Response Team was activated from 12th Street and arrived on location within a minute. The response team rescued and removed 14 people from the water. It was then discovered that the 14-year-old boy was missing.
Teams of firefighters and beach patrol began searching the water utilizing ropes and rescue equipment. The nearby jetty was searched with divers and swimmers.The Ocean City Police Marine Unit, United States Coast Guard and Fire Department jet skis searched the waters off the beach. The search continued for approximately two hours and was called off due to unsafe conditions and darkness.
The search resumed at 6 a.m., with fire department and police personnel patrolling the coast line until the lifeguards returned for duty at 9:30 a.m.
The search of the immediate area will continue throughout the day on Monday, and officers from the Ocean City Police Department are with the family and conducting an investigation.
The missing swimmer is not being identified due to his age.
The Ocean City Department of Fire and Rescue Services reminds residents and visitors that the beaches are closed after 5:30 p.m. on Sundays and the area is prohibited to swimming as posted.
Officials discourage people from swimming after hours, and to only swim at guarded beaches.
Several years ago the beach patrol began staffing a Rapid Response team. This team is stationed from 12th street, which is a midpoint to the area.
The team is on from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the summer months to help people who chose to enter the water. This team has made countless rescues.