LONG BEACH — The Coast Guard officially suspended its search for a missing 14-year-old boy, now presumed to have drowned after being swept offshore Monday afternoon, May 31, in Long Beach.
The beach was intensely crowded with holiday weekend vacationers enjoying summer-like weather. The tide was starting to rise at the time of the accident and surf conditions were moderate.
“We haven’t closed the case but we’ve suspended the search pending further developments,” said Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Lt. James Davis on Tuesday morning.
The Coast Guard first received a 911 call at 2:03 p.m. Monday afternoon for the teenager, last seen by a friend wearing a red cap, grey shirt and black trunks. The Coast Guard responded with search support from air, water and land involving two helicopters, a 47-foot motor lifeboat and support from Long Beach Volunteer Fire Department, which dispatched trucks to patrol the beach, with assistance from Washington State Parks and local Long Beach Police.
Coast Guard spotters scoured the surf with binoculars while the motor lifeboat and helicopter systematically searched up and down the peninsula from Beards Hollow to north of Long Beach for several hours.
The search concluded around 10 p.m., when low fuel required a return to base.
“We searched into the night,” Davis said. “We did almost eight hours with both helicopters and a motor lifeboat. In total, we had around 17 asset hours searching for the individual.”
As of noon Tuesday, authorities had not released the boy’s name or details about his family.
“Suspending search efforts is always an extremely difficult and heart-wrenching decision, especially when involving children,” said Capt. Nathan Coulter, 13th Coast Guard District, chief of incident management. “This was a real tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the young man involved. A huge thanks to the many women and men who assisted in planning and carrying out this search effort, including among others, the Coast Guard, Pacific County, Washington Park Rangers, and good Samaritans. As is often the case, these public servants answered the call instinctively and without delay to come to the aid of others.”