Divers Recover Body of Missing Teen Swimmer Off Haulover Park

The teenage swimmer, whose body was recovered in the waters off Haulover Park Wednesday after he jumped in and went missing, has been identified.

18-year-old Darrius Rhome was reported missing in the area of 10500 Collins Avenue, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said. His body was found around 5:45 p.m.

Rhome was a senior at Carol City High School. He also played outfield on the Marlins RBI League, a program for inner city youth.

"You spend a lot of time with them. You spend more time with them and the rest of the team than you do with your own family, so we became part of your family," said Randy Rodriguez, baseball coach. "It's like losing a son."

A dive team and a Miami-Dade fire boat were working on the search. In addition, the Coast Guard hovered over the inlet, looking for Rhome, who jumped in from the seawall with another friend. Crews said the current was so powerful, in seconds, Rhome was gone.

"We immediately put our units into operation for the total of 10-rescue divers searching an area of probability at Haulover Cut," said Battalion Chief Abel Fernandez with MDFR.

The 18-year-olds made their jump at about 11:30 a.m. and multiple hours later, rescue crews continued the recovery operation. Divers were engaged in what seemed like a futile endeavor. The whipping winds created angry conditions and a wall of waves. On a "good" day, crews said this search would be still challenging.

Something one local surfer knows all too well. "Every Easter vacation, there's got to be a minimum of 20 rescues around here," Armando Artone explained.

During the search for the Rhome, another man fell from the pier. The Coast Guard swooped in and rescued the man.

"I always come surfing here and it's very dangerous with outgoing and incoming currents. Especially when we have a full moon, you have exceptionally strong currents going in and out of the cut," Artone said.

Being in these very waters so often, water rescues are an unfortunate experience Artone knows all too well, "I've done a couple of rescues here myself over the days. Just yesterday there was a rescue here."

It's a lesson in tragedy: the waters need to be respected and mother nature always wins.

Rodriguez said Rhome was ambitious and college was definitely in his future. His family and friends are now mourning the sudden loss.

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