Crews expand search area for 8-year-old swept by rip current in Galveston

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Crews from multiple agencies will resume a search on Thursday for an 8-year-old boy swept up by a rip current in Galveston.

Members of Galveston Beach Patrol, Galveston police and Galveston fire departments are among the agencies trying to find the unidentified child who went missing Tuesday night near 37th Street and Seawall Boulevard.

Since the initial response to the emergency, crews expanded the search from 29th to 103rd along the seawall.

Peter Davis, Galveston Beach Patrol's chief, said it is using handheld sonar equipment new to the department to search for the boy.

Just shortly before the boy went missing, the beach patrol activated a red flag, signaling potential for high surf or strong currents. Davis added they were operating under limited staffing during the week.

Additionally, Galveston County's Community Emergency Response Team has been activated.

While there is a large search presence, beach patrol stated they don't expect the child to resurface until Thursday or Friday due to the water temperature.

According to Davis, the boy and his family were visiting from St. Louis. He added the family has routinely visited the island in recent years.

The boy was last seen wearing black shorts.

SEE ALSO: Rip currents: Safety tips and what to know

What you should do if you get caught in a rip current

With summer fast approaching, more people may be hitting the water.

If you plan to go to the beach, you should be aware of rip currents and what to do if you get caught in one.
Rip currents are a narrow channel of water that flows away from the beach and can quickly carry you out to sea. They're often underestimated and potentially deadly since they are subtle, but powerful.

Instead of trying to swim back against the current, you need to first escape it.

Swim parallel to the beach to break the rip current, then swim back in to shore.

The National Weather Service advises that you check its forecast for local beach conditions before you leave for the beach. When you get there, ask lifeguards about rip currents and other hazards.

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