Elijah Posana, 22, was swimming at Surfside Beach when he got into trouble. Officials said Posana was pulled by a rip current and was never seen after that.
The Coast Guard has sent out boats and a helicopter in hopes of finding him. Officials said crews searched over the course of 28 hours, covering approximately 100 square miles.
“The decision to suspend a search is always an extremely difficult one to make,” said Capt. Jason Smith, the commanding officer for Sector Houston-Galveston. “Every time we run a search and rescue case, we think of the missing as our own and in this case, the missing is a fellow service member which definitely weighs heavily on our hearts. Our deepest condolences go out to the airman’s family and friends.”
SEE RELATED STORY: Rip currents: Safety tips and what to know
Rip currents aren’t just dangerous, they can be deadly. Here is some important information you should know before you go swimming in these waters.
- The phenomenon accounts for about 100 deaths every year at U.S. beaches
- Rip currents don’t drag you underwater. Instead, they pull you away from shore
- If you get caught in one, do not try to swim back to shore or panic. These two actions will only cause you to get tired more quickly, which increases the danger
- Instead, swim parallel to the shore. If you are too tired to swim parallel, you can try calmly floating until the current dies down, or you can wave and yell to try to get the attention of a lifeguard
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