Two Teenagers Missing in Waters Off Beach in Queens in Suspected Drowning

Two teenagers were reported missing in the waters off Jacob Riis Park in Queens on Friday evening, setting off an hourslong search into the night along a shoreline notorious for rip currents that prove deadly year after year.

The authorities received reports of a possible drowning around 6:30 p.m. The officers responding to the scene were told that two teenage boys, ages 16 and 17, had been seen struggling in the water before they disappeared from view, according to the New York Police Department.

Emergency responders with the police, New York City Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard, including rescue swimmers and divers, searched the churning waters, but as of about 11 p.m. Friday no one had been found, according to the police.

Kaz Daughtry, the Police Department’s deputy commissioner of operations, told news crews at the beach that witnesses said the teenagers had been overtaken by a large wave that they tried to avoid by jumping, but it appeared to suck them under.

“There is a strong rip current at Rockaway that’s most likely what caused the incident,” said Michelle Krupa, an operations controller for the Coast Guard.

Divers had to suspend their search Friday night because of “extremely, extremely rough” currents, Mr. Daughtry said. A Coast Guard boat was continuing the search overnight.

The National Weather Service forecast a moderate risk of rip currents off the beaches at Jacob Riis Park on Friday, with waves of three to four feet. The risk was expected to increase over the weekend, to a high risk by Sunday. New York is in the midst of a heat wave, with temperatures in the high 90s, sending some to the beaches to cool off.

The emergency calls were made Friday evening about half an hour after lifeguards go off duty at the park’s beaches at 6 p.m., after which swimming is prohibited.

The currents at the Rockaways, on the southern edge of Queens, have repeatedly claimed the lives of beachgoers. In 2019, at least seven died swimming off the peninsula’s beaches. Last year, four people drowned off New York City beaches, and three the year before, according to city officials.

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