A Somber Search Ends On A Long Branch Beach
Rescue crews and lifeguards have ended the somber search for the body of a missing 17-year-old swimmer from Paterson on a Long Branch beach.
“We want to do the utmost to bring closure to his family, to give them a body to mourn,” Long Branch Director of Emergency Management Stan Dziuba tells NorthJersey.com. “They need it. A 17-year-old needs to be found.”
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The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office identified the boy as Rudy Mena, a student at Eastside High School in Paterson.
“We were deeply saddened to hear this news, and our thoughts are with the family,” Terry Corallo, director of communications, Paterson Public Schools told NorthJersey.com. Grief counselors were at the school today.
Long Branch Police Captain Jason Roebuck says Long Branch police were the last agency actively searching for Mena. He says the next step is to simply wait for Mena’s body to show up someplace. “Hopefully at some point he will show, either somewhere on the beach or in the ocean.”
It’s not clear if Mena knew how to swim. He and his sister were at the beach for the day with another family from their church.
Mena went missing in the surf on Sunday night but could not be located after a 14 hour search that covered 88 nautical square miles between Long Branch & Monmouth Beach that involved helicopters, boats and divers.
NOT AN EASY DECISION
The decision to suspend the search, which covered 88-nautical-square-miles, came “after exhausting all possible efforts,” Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie of the Coast Guard told the Asbury Park Press. “We used numerous search patterns with units in the air and on water. The search was conducted in anticipation of the drift current, to determine where someone would be carried by the current,” he said.
The section of water where the teen went under is notorious for riptides according to NorthJersey.com. The area, about 100 yards from a lifeguard stand, is a natural place for the surf to flow away from shore, authorities said.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report