4 swimmers dead, 3 missing in ocean off N.Y.

/ Source: The Associated Press

Rescuers suspended their search Sunday for a 10-year-old girl in the water off Coney Island, one of three swimmers still missing from powerful ocean currents at New York City and Long Island beaches over the weekend.

Four other victims drowned at local beaches Friday and Saturday, authorities said.

The search for the girl was suspended Sunday afternoon pending further developments, Coast Guard Cmdr. Gregory Hitchen said.

Akira Johnson was pulled under by currents while swimming with her cousin Saturday afternoon. Her cousin, Tyriek Currie, also 10, was rescued.

The children's grandfather, Charles German, went to the beach Sunday to watch the search effort. He said the family was doing as well as could be expected.

With a steady punch of stronger rip currents possible over the weekend, "only experienced surf swimmers should enter the waters," said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Connolly.

A strong storm system spawned rough seas and 8-foot waves to the area earlier this week, Connolly said.

Among the other swimmers who disappeared or drowned:

  • A 29-year-old man died Saturday evening after struggling about 150 yards from shore on Long Beach in Long Island. Lifeguards reached him within minutes, but rescuers and hospital staffers were unable to revive him, police Lt. Bruce Meyer said.
  • Also in Long Beach, a man died and a teenager went missing Friday during a football game in about 3 to 5 feet of water after lifeguard hours, officials said.
  • A 42-year-old man died Saturday afternoon after swimming at a beach in East Quogue in Suffolk County, Southampton Town police said.
  • A 23-year-old man was missing after being swept away Friday at a Queens beach known for strong undertows and riptides, the Coast Guard said. Authorities called off the search Saturday after looking for him for 23 hours, the Coast Guard said.
  • A man in his 20s drowned Friday afternoon while swimming at Sandy Bar Beach on Long Island's East End, authorities said.