Thursday 15 November 2018

Irishman (30) missing after 2am swim in New York - authorities

Niall Gibbons went missing while swimming in Long Beach on Monday
Photo: Google Maps
Niall Gibbons went missing while swimming in Long Beach on Monday Photo: Google Maps
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

An Irishman is missing after going swimming in New York in the early hours of Monday morning, according to authorities.

The man, who has been named as Niall Gibbons (30), was last seen swimming with friends off Long Beach at around 2am on Monday.

The group are understood to have gotten into trouble in the water, Mr Gibbons' friends managed to safely make it back to the shore and raised the alarm.

Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins told New York CBS: "They knew they were getting in trouble. They got out and when they turned around, their friend was gone and they couldn’t locate him.

"They spent about 10 or 15 minutes looking for him before they notified 911, in which time we were notified."

The US Coast Guard confirmed that Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound command center co-ordinated a huge search effort that covered more than 650 miles of beach over 29 hours.

Included in the search mission were two 45-foot response boats, an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, Nassau County Aviation, Nassau County Marine Unit, Long Beach Fire Rescue and Long Beach Police Department.

Commander Andrew Ely, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, said in a statement that the search for Mr Gibbons, who is believed to be from Limerick, has been suspended.

“After searching extensively throughout the night and daylight hours, in coordination with our partner agencies, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our search,” he said.

Commissioner Kemmins added that they have not been able to deploy dive teams as the water is too dangerous.

Mr Gibbons' disappearance comes just hours after a body believed to be that of Ramell McRae Junior (10) was found.

He went missing in the same vicinity as Mr Gibbons after he was swimming with his older brother last week.

The US Coast Guard is pleading with swimmers to be aware of the dangers of the sea.

They said on their website: "The Coast Guard urges anyone who enters open water to wear a life jacket.

"The ocean, even near the shoreline, can be unpredictable and overtake even the strongest swimmer.

"Always be alert to current conditions, especially any rip-tide warnings, and only enter the water when a lifeguard is present."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said that they "cannot comment on individual consular cases."

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