Posted: Sep 5, 2011 8:30 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) - A Coast Guard helicopter was searching Sunday night for a teenage boy swept away in rough waters churned up by Tropical Storm Lee.
The boy was one of three teenagers who were caught in a rip current off Gulf Shores, said Maj. Anthony Lowery of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office. Two parents tried to help the teens but became distressed themselves. Four of them eventually made it to shore.
Authorities were continuing to search late Sunday for the remaining 16-year-old boy.
Witness Charlie Camp was standing on the balcony of his condominium when he saw the two boys drifting away from shore, so he called 911.
"They kept getting pulled farther and farther out," Camp said.
The mother swam out to the boys and the father tried to use a float to reach them, but he couldn't get past the waves. The mother was swept away, too. Lifeguards eventually helped the mother and one of the boys reach the shore, while the father also made it out, Camp said.
Camp said there had been intermittent sunshine and rain throughout the day, along with winds and rough surf. He says he didn't see more than two-dozen people on the beach at one time throughout the day.
"The waves were just terrible," he said.