BRADLEY BEACH, N.J. — Bradley Beach police have deemed the search for a missing 31-year-old swimmer off the Jersey Shore a recovery operation.
Chief Lt. Leonard Guida of the Bradley Beach police said Julio Pierre, 31, of Newark disappeared in the water Saturday evening around 7 p.m.
Pierre just moved to New Jersey from Haiti a month ago. The lifeguards in Bradley Beach leave at 6 p.m.
But just one hour later, witnesses saw a big wave overtake Pierre. He never came back to the surface again.
“We were there within a minute," said Guida. "We responded to the 911 call within one minute"
Despite officers arrival within seconds, they could not spot the swimmer.
"It brings tears to my eyes because its very sad to the family that it happened to,” said Felicia Edwards, a grandmother of 6. Edwards had left the beach several hours prior to the incident, but returned to the boardwalk just as the search was beginning to get Slurpees with her grandkids.
"I said that’s why mama tells you if there is no lifeguard we can’t go in the water,” she said she told her grandkids.
“And never swim next to the jetty or you’ll get pushed against the jetty,” added her granddaughter, Emily.
A rip current may have swept right down the coast Saturday night, right around the time Pierre and his friends were swimming.
“Almost simultaneously there was two other neighboring communities that had similar saves,” said Guida.
The Coast Guard and police departments from neighboring towns joined the search effort. They sent in divers, helicopters, boats and swimmers.
Officials have suspended an underwater search but are still monitoring the area.
Police say it's been almost two years since the last drowning at Bradley Beach.