14-year-old dies after being pulled from the water off Far Rockaway Beach

NEW YORK — A teenager died after being pulled from the water off a beach in Far Rockaway on Sunday.

It happened after lifeguards closed the area due to thunder.

The holiday weekend turned deadly at Beach 73 after a 14-year-old was found unresponsive in the water. The boy was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“He was foaming. He had a lot of water. He was in there for four or five minutes,” former lifeguard Basia Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski was visiting her friend who had been on duty as a lifeguard. They heard the screams for help.

“They started blowing the whistle like crazy. it’s something we call case whistles, long whistles or emergency whistles. I ran to the jetty so I know how to break it down. She went in the water and I’m her point person,” Lewandowski said.

Lifeguards acted quickly, running into the water to search.

“We do what they call a diving line. So lifeguards started diving. It’s a miracle we found this body,” Lewandowski said. “In all my years I’ve never seen it actually get to that point. Usually, they cough it up and they are good.”

Sharon Grant, who was on the beach with friends, said she knew in her heart it was too late.

“They were able to get him out of the water, but he was blue and … we’ve never seen anything like that. It was traumatizing,” Grant said.

New York City beaches have lifeguards from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the season. Lewandowski, who had worked on the beach as a lifeguard, says at around 5 p.m. on Sunday there was thunder. She said the protocol is to shut down the beach, meaning no lifeguards were on duty.

“When we have thunder, we close the beach. It was all proper. They didn’t have to be on the beach,” Lewandowski said.

After the beach was closed, the teen disappeared in the water.

“This happens all the time. This is how people drown. They go into the water and no one is on the beach. It was really intense. I’m still feeling it,” Lewandowski said.

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