JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — UPDATED STORY: Coast Guard, St. Johns deputies join search for man last seen in ocean off Jacksonville Beach
Jacksonville Beach authorities have initiated a recovery operation after 19-year-old Curtis A. Newkirk Jr. was reported missing in the waters off Jacksonville Beach Sunday evening.
Curtis Newkirk is described as standing 6′01″ tall and weighing approximately 192 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes.
Curtis Newkirk was last seen at around 7:36 p.m. on the evening of May 28. He was described wearing blue Nautica swim trunks featuring a red and yellow design.
The teen has been missing for over an hour, last seen on the 200 block of 1st St. South.
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 Mr. Newkirk.
Action News Jax spoke with Bridgette Taggart, who was a witness of the search. Taggart saw the moments lifeguards jumped into the water to search and officers asking questions trying to get information. She said there was a group of roughly 11 people who 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 he was missing.
“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 Mr. Newkirk at the time of his disappearance to come forward.
The Jacksonville Beach Police Department at (904)-270-1667 remains the designated point of contact for individuals with information related to this case.
Rescue personnel and law enforcement agencies are working tirelessly to recover Mr. Newkirk.
As recovery efforts continue, updates will be provided to the public as new information emerges.
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