Missing teen swimmer’s body recovered after falling from blow-up raft at Nassau County beach

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The body of a 15-year-old swimmer who went missing Wednesday afternoon was recovered Thursday about a half-mile from where he was last seen at a Nassau County beach, according to the Fernandina Beach Fire Rescue.

Two more swimmers were also taken to a local hospital after they were pulled from the waters at North Beach Park, FBFR said.

Officials said they were all on a blow-up raft that might be used in a pool but eventually fell out and likely got caught in a rip current. A witness said she saw everything unfold and she was shaken up, but was glad she was there to be able to call 911 as quickly as she did.

“I still feel like I’m wobbly and It’s just a tragedy,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.

Officials said the adult woman and another teenage boy from Georiga who were pulled from the water were taken to the hospital for observations.

A witness said the woman was pushed back ashore while someone helped save one of the teenage boys.

Around 7 p.m. officials suspended their large operations and the search and rescue became a recovery effort.

It’s something the woman who called 911 said is sad, especially since she remembers the last moments she saw the 15-year-old.

“The one I could just see his head moving across from south to north, and by the time the men got out there I could never see his head again,” she said.

The Fernandina Beach Fire Chief said with conditions being as choppy as they were people need to pay attention before they go in the water. And it’s something the woman who called 911 said she agrees with.

“Paying attention to the warning signs and knowing if it’s a red flag stay out,” she said.

The fire chief said that even though large operations were suspended units would still be patrolling the beach Wednesday night and more of them would be back at daybreak.

About the Authors:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter

Khalil Maycock joined the News4JAX team in November 2022 after reporting in Des Moines, IA.