KITTY HAWK, NC – The Coast Guard is searching for the body of a 4-year-old Manchester, NH, boy who was swept away from his mother and into the ocean Wednesday while they were together on a beach at the Outer Banks.
According to Kitty Hawk Police Chief Joel Johnson, the boy was vacationing at the Outer Banks and was standing ankle-deep in the water when a “rogue wave” knocked him down. A second wave quickly followed, sweeping him away from his mother, who was next to him, and into the ocean.
“It was a freak accident,” Johnson said Thursday. “The current was strong, and the waves were four-to-six feet. The ocean is very cold right now. You can’t get in there, even with a wetsuit.”
Johnson posted the following message via the Kitty Hawk Police Department’s Facebook page late Wednesday, after the search for the boy had been suspended:
The Coast Guard suspended its search about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and resumed working the case as a recovery mission on Thursday. Johnson said the rescue mission will continue until, hopefully, the boy’s body is found.
“I’m hoping we’ll find him,” Johnson said. “We hope to give the family some closure – and us, too. His mother is a wreck right now.”
Coast Guard helicopter and lifeboat crews were dispatched to aid in the search for the boy Wednesday, joined by other regional fire and rescue crews.
The identity of the boy has not yet been released, but Johnson confirmed Thursday afternoon that the family was from Manchester.