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Search continues for little boy who drowned in Galveston after getting caught in rip current

A lifeguard tried to reach the unconscious 8-year-old Tuesday night, but couldn’t get to him.
Credit: KHOU11

HOUSTON — Crews in Galveston have been searching all day for a little boy who drowned Tuesday night.

The Beach Patrol said the 8-year-old got caught in a rip current while swimming with others near a groin off 37th and the Seawall.

A lifeguard saw the group around 7:45 p.m. and said they weren’t in the “No Swimming” area but they were right on the edge.

“As we moved the swimmers, one of our lifeguards spotted the little boy’s body off the end of the groin and ran out, jumped off the rocks and tried to find him, couldn’t," Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said Wednesday.

Other lifeguards rushed to join the search, along with crews from the Coast Guard, fire department and police department.    

They were back at work at dawn Wednesday.

Davis said the boy was visiting from St. Louis with his family. He said they’ve been going to Galveston every year ever since a visit to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.

Last month, a 5-year-old boy was rescued from a rip current off 29th Street. He was unconscious but lifeguards revived him with CPR.

Rip currents account for 80% of beach rescuers, according to NOAA.

“Just generally, when you go to the beach you want to make sure you stay far away from any structure -- like a pier or jetty -- because we always have rip currents in those areas,” Davis said.

If you get caught in a rip tide, stay calm and don't fight it. Instead, swim parallel with the shoreline until you're out of the current.

Davis also advises everyone to swim near lifeguards and follow the flag system. The red flag posted Tuesday meant non-swimmers and children should stay on shore and even strong swimmers shouldn’t venture past waist-deep water.

You'll find other beach safety tips here.

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