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8-Year-Old Swimmer Missing Off New Smyrna Beach

Authorities are searching for an 8-year-old boy who went missing while swimming off New Smyrna Beach.

Volusia County Beach Safety Deputy Chief of Administration Liz Driskell says the Coast Guard and the sheriff's office have joined the search Sunday morning off New Smyrna Beach.

The boy went missing Saturday. Bonita Hill told NBC 6 affiliate, WESH 2, the swimmer officials searched for is her son, 8-year-old Hezekiah.

"I can't think I can't eat I can't sleep. All I can think about is my son," Hill said. "(It's) Easter weekend, all the family came together, to have fun and then this happened, so I'm at a loss for words."

His mother told WESH 2 that her son loves swimming in the ocean and ran straight into the surf when the family arrived at the beach from Orlando. Family says one minute the 8-year-old was in sight, the next he wasn't.

The boy's 11-year-old sister rushed into the water in attempt to save him, but the current was too strong for her. She was rescued and transported to the hospital.

Searchers looked for the boy by air and by water until nightfall. They returned Sunday, but there was still no sign of the boy.

Driskell told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that Saturday was a busy day for lifeguards at the crowded beach. Eleven people needed rescuing from the rough surf, including one woman taken to a hospital. Driskell said numerous jelly fish stings also were reported, including one person who needed medical treatment after a "minor reaction."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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