Coast Guard suspends search for boy in Atlantic City

Khitan Devine

June 13, 2012 1:22:06 PM PDT
The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a 10-year-old Philadelphia boy presumed drowned near the Atlantic City boardwalk.

"The decision to suspend a search is very difficult, but after an exhaustive search by crews last night and all day today, the Coast Guard suspended our search for the missing boy. I cannot imagine the sadness felt by the child's family, and my deepest sympathy goes out to them," Capt. Kathy Moore, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia said in a statement.

On Monday, searchers focused on the area around the jetty, which could no longer be seen because of the tide.

Family members of 10-year-old Khitan Devine kept to themselves and maintained a vigil beneath a blue beach umbrella.

Efforts were hampered by high water and strong winds so officials decided to stand by and wait till this evening to resume the search.

"Tonight, when the tides are more favorable, they start to go out...we're looking at another shot around this jetty," Atlantic City Fire Department Chief Dennis Brooks said.

Authorities say at around 7:10 p.m. Sunday, Khitan was swimming with his family in the ocean in the area of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Watch: Action Cam video of the search

Khitan's stepmother, Rosemary Brown, said that's when they were met with a strong current.

"It was a current that pulled us under," Rosemary Brown said.

The stepmother and two others were pulled out by rescuers.

View Photos: Website Visitors / Wireless or App Visitors

Khitan's father, who had tried to reach his son, was distraught and exhausted.

Police, fire crews, off-duty life guards, and the Coast Guard probed the murky water searching for the boy.

The intense search continued for hours on Sunday, but there was no trace of him.

As night fell, rescuers scaled back their efforts.

A hope for rescue from the chilly water became a recovery effort.

"[It was] a very strong riptide with the currents and according to the patrol chief, it's a strong possibility that he's missing and presumably drowned," Tom Foley of the Atlantic City Office of Emergency Management said.

Last night's deadly swimming incident occurred a hour after lifeguards went off duty at 6:00 p.m.

"The young man was in the water after 7:00 at night and we can't stress enough to you, just don't do it. Just stay out of the water. Once the lifeguard leaves, you leave because these rip currents can rip you right out to sea very, very quickly," Foley said.

Anyone with information should contact the U.S. Coast Guard Station Atlantic City at 609-344-6595.