Police say Alfred Williams, 19, of Drexel Hill, Pa., was out in the water on May 31 with three other swimmers when trouble struck.
WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Authorities have identified the swimmer who went missing off the coast of Wildwood, New Jersey earlier this week.
Police say Alfred Williams, 19, of Drexel Hill, Pa., was out in the water on May 31 with three other swimmers when trouble struck in the area of Andrews Avenue and the beach.
One swimmer made it out of the water and two others were rescued. Police say Williams has not been located.
The beach isn't fully staffed until later in June, and no lifeguards were on duty at the time of the incident,
Wildwood Fire Chief Ernie Troiano III said the swimmers were far beyond the usual distance from shore. He says it's likely the swimmers were caught in a rip current.
"One was at least 200 yards out. The other was probably about 125 or so yards out," Troiano said. "We immediately saw them; crews split up - one went after the one victim, another crew went after another victim. (They) brought them in on boards."
A friend described the moment he last saw Williams.
"He said they were trying to get back in. He was on the sandbar, and his friend was in front of him, and as a breaker came, he said he saw him, and then he didn't see him again," said Troiano of his conversation with one of the swimmers.
The three swimmers who made it out of the water are listed in stable condition.
At this point, the investigation has turned into a recovery mission.
According to the United States Lifesaving Association, an average of 100 deaths are caused by rip currents in the U.S. each year.
Swimmers are urged to never go in the water when there are no lifeguards present.