Coast Guard, local agencies suspend search for missing swimmer in Va. Beach after no developments

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Coast Guard crews and other local officials suspended their search Saturday afternoon for a woman who was reported missing after she went for a swim early that morning.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received the report of the missing swimmer from Virginia Beach Police at 3:45 a.m.

Officials say a witness saw the woman go into the water, but they never saw her come back out.

The missing swimmer is reported to be between 20 to 30 years old with blonde hair, and was last seen wearing a pink top and jean shorts.

The Coast Guard suspended the search for the woman around 2 p.m.

Crews searched 214 square miles at the Oceanfront for a swimmer who was reported missing on Aug. 10, 2019. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard graphic 

The search was ended due to the lack of new developments, according to officials.

Virginia Beach Police say they did not receive a missing persons report in relation to the incident.

“Our hope is someone went in the water and came out different from where they went in,” said Tom Gill, who is the President of the Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association.

Despite not finding anything, Gill says the bystanders did the right thing calling 911 after seeing something off.

But he does urge people at the Oceanfront to swim only when lifeguards are on duty.

Gill says thousands of people are on the beach each day during the summer season, and unfortunately drownings do happen. This year, there’s been three.

“Every one is different and every one is tragic. Our job on a daily basis is to keep people safe and we’re going to do that to the best of our ability,” Gill said.

Gill says lifeguard stands are fully staffed from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., staffing is cut down until all lifeguards leave at 8 p.m.

Over the summer, they’ve already rescued between 400 to 500 people, according to Gill.

He says the numbers are down from last year because of better water conditions so far. But, he expects that visitors will start seeing red flags flying more often. 

“You’ll start seeing more red flags as we get into the end of August, September. It’s very common for us to put red flags up when we get these north winds out here and an increase of rip currents with the bigger wavy heights,” Gill said. 

Gill says it’s important during these conditions to swim where a lifeguard can watch out for you, and that knowing the number of the lifeguard stand near where you’re swimming near can make it easier for you to stay connected with those you came with.

“You get in the water, you’re going to be a block away from where you entered before you even know it. Know you’re conditions, where you’re supposed to be coming out, swim when those lifeguards are on duty and you’ll be a heck of a lot safer,” Gill said. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads command center on VHF-FM channel 16 or at (757) 638-6637.

Stay on for updates.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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