A father is dead after disappearing into the waves to try and rescue his 17-year-old son, who had been boogie boarding in the ocean off Rockaway Beach.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed crews recovered the 50-year-old man’s body Wednesday afternoon.
During the investigation, crews learned that the teen from Fort Collins, Colorado was riding a boogie board in the surf when a wave knocked him off the board.
Witnesses say they thought they were seeing some sort of Coast Guard training, but quickly realized it was something more.
Vickie Gross described the scene as "frantic" and says she saw the father’s body pulled to shore. She watched the events unfold Wednesday from the balcony of her vacation condo near the beach.
"A 911 vehicle went by going north on the beach and stopped," Gross said. "I opened the door cause' I could hear voices and stuff ... the gentleman climbed out of that little van and got on top with his binoculars and started peering out into the water."
Gross describes the beach as a typically quiet and calming place.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said crews responded to the beach after a woman called 911 around 2:30 p.m. and said she lost sight of her 17-year-old stepson.
Crews said family members could see the teen in distress and after several minutes family members lost sight of both the father and son.
Erik Peterson, another witness, said he lives in Rockaway Beach.
He said many people in the community feel this is a reminder of the power of Mother Nature and the safety precautions to take while swimming in the ocean.
“I’ve seen a lot of close calls, a lot of parents that just need to be real careful when their kids are here and even a lot of adults, they jump in the water cause’ they’re excited to be on the coast,” Peterson said. “They don’t realize how cold the water is.”
A helicopter crew late Wednesday afternoon located the father’s body in the water, however, the teen was not found and is presumed to be dead, according to Coast Guard crews.
Search efforts to find the boy are ongoing.
Authorities have not released the names of the people involved.
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