Coast Guard, St. Johns deputies join search for man last seen in ocean off Jacksonville Beach

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — A swimmer who was first reported missing Sunday night has still not been found, the Jacksonville Beach Police Department said Monday afternoon.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Coast Guard are now assisting in the search for 19-year-old Curtis A. Newkirk Jr., JBPD said.


SJSO and the Coast Guard used its boats and aircraft in the search. JBPD said surrounding counties have been alerted about the continued search for Newkirk.

Action News Jax told you Sunday night when Jacksonville Beach authorities initiated a recovery operation after Newkirk was reported missing in the waters off Jacksonville Beach.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department and Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department have shifted their efforts from a search operation to recovery as they continue their endeavors to locate Newkirk.

Newkirk is described as standing 6′01″ tall and weighing approximately 192 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. He was described wearing blue Nautica swim trunks featuring a red and yellow design.

He was last seen at around 7:36 p.m. Sunday in the 200 block of 1st Street South.

Action News Jax spoke with Bridgette Taggart, who was a witness of the search on Sunday. Taggart saw the moments lifeguards jumped into the water to search and officers asking questions trying to get information. She said a group of roughly 11 people knew the swimmer, saying they were his friends and family members and you could see how upset they were.

Taggart told Action News Jax the group was saying how they were in the water for a bit and stepped off a sandbar, but it wasn’t until after that they realized Newkirk was missing.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

“The rip current had taken them rather far to the right, and by the time they got out of the water, they thought he was already out. they made their way back to the towels and realized he wasn’t there,” she said. “His family and friends were asking everyone to look on the beach because he could’ve came out further down and was still working his way back. So, a bunch of people, myself and my friend included, were walking up and down the beach looking for his shorts.”

Authorities are urging anyone who may have information about the incident or may have seen Newkirk at the time of his disappearance to come forward.

Anyone who has information about Newkirk’s whereabouts is asked to contact JBPD at (904)-270-1667.

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.