Wednesday 14 November 2018

Search suspended for Irish man (30) missing after 2am swim in New York

Neil Gibbons of Limerick was last seen swimming with friends off Long Beach around 2am Monday morning

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

Kyle Ewald

The search for an Irishman who went missing after swimming in New York has been suspended “pending any new information”, according to NYC emergency services.

Neil Gibbons of Limerick was last seen swimming with two friends off Long Beach around 2am Monday morning.

The US Coast Guard said the major search for Mr Gibbons lasted over 29 hours and covered more than 650 miles of beach before being suspended.

Commander Andrew Ely, chief of response, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sounds said: “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.”

It is understood that the group of pals got into trouble in the water and Mr Gibbons’ friends managed to return to shore safely and raised alarm. There was no life guard on duty at the time.

It is understood that the group got into trouble in the water and Mr Gibbons’ friends managed to return to shore safely and raised alarm. There was no life guard on duty at the time.

The men called 911 and a major search for Mr Gibbons got underway.

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.”

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 all took part in the search.

The US Coast Guard is urging swimmers to be cautious when swimming in the sea.

“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.”

Independent.ie has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs for a comment.

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