USA

Parents fear for son swept away in riptide at Rockaway Beach

The father of a teen who disappeared in the waves off Rockaway Beach over the weekend said on Sunday that he had lost all hope that his son was alive, although the boy’s mother refused to give up.

Lamine Sarr, 17, was pulled out to sea by a riptide while going for a dip with two friends near his home on Beach 86th Street at 5 p.m. Saturday, according to friends.

His pals made it back to shore. Sarr never did.

The dad, who moved his family here from Senegal 11 years ago, said he had been up all night mourning the loss of Lamine, the youngest of his three children.
“This is very difficult to bear,” Mamadou Sarr said. “I was crying for a long time.”

Still, Lamine Sarr’s mother said she was holding fast to hope that their boy would be found alive.

Appearing to be in shock as she sat on the living-room floor, the mother called her son “a good boy.’’

The three teens had almost avoided the surf, knowing none of them was a strong swimmer, one of them, David Kallon, recalled to ABC-TV 7.

But “we kinda just shrugged it off,” he said.

Lamine Sarr, an aspiring model, had just begun his senior year at Channel View School for Research in Rockaway Park, Queens, where he played drums and saxophone, according to the father.

Sarr was weighing whether to enroll in college or the Marines after graduation, the dad added.

The teen and his two friends had been playing video games Saturday when they decided it was too warm to be indoors and went to wade in the ocean, according to friend Ezra Cummings, 17, who spoke with Sarr’s swimming partners.

“They were just gonna walk into the water,” Cummings said, recalling what the boys told him.

The three friends “never went in below their waist,” but then “they couldn’t feel their legs” because the water was cold, Cummings said.

“After a little while, they couldn’t feel their feet touching the ground, [they] turned around, and Lamine wasn’t there,” Cummings said.

“They could feel something pulling them away from the beach.”

The riptide risk was high Saturday — presenting “dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions . . . for all people entering the surf” — according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“They tried to fight it,” Cummings said. “They couldn’t. It pulled them out.”

There were no lifeguards on duty because the beach season ended a week before, on Sept. 9, according to a city Parks Department representative.

The rep added that signs are posted warning beachgoers not to swim without lifeguards.

Just one of the boys knew how to swim, but only “barely,” Cummings said.

That teen was able to paddle over to a jetty, where he clung to rocks and began “screaming for help,” Cummings said.

A search team was called off Saturday due to rip currents, but the search resumed Sunday.

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