VENTNOR — The search continued Saturday morning for an 18-year-old New York man who went missing after swimming with friends off Victoria Avenue, police said.
"It is believed that the male victim assisted the two female swimmers to shore, thus putting himself in harm's way and ultimately sacrificing his own life," police Capt. Joe Fussner said.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended all operations for recovery efforts, Fussner said Saturday afternoon, adding city police and lifeguards, along with those from neighboring jurisdictions, are still conducting periodic checks of the water.
The Press of Atlantic City also reached out to the Coast Guard for an update.
Fussner said the department received a 911 call for a distressed swimmer at 6:53 p.m. Friday and had officers on the beach within a minute or two.
"They observed the male 50 yards off the coast, several blocks south from his initial location," Fussner said. "The condition of the ocean was extremely rough."
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Fussner said rescue units from Ventnor, Atlantic City and Margate's fire departments and beach patrols responded in addition to a helicopter and boats from the Coast Guard station in Atlantic City. Unfortunately, the officers lost sight of the man and didn't see him again.
Police don't know why his friends were able to get out of the water and he wasn't.
The municipal departments searched the beach and the water using personal watercraft until 8:58 p.m. Friday, when darkness forced them to quit. The Coast Guard still had an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter on scene as of 10 p.m. Fussner said all three cities would have officers on the beach through the night and the water search would resume Saturday.
The man's name isn't being released pending contact with his family.
Staff Writer Molly Bilinski contributed to this report.
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