Body found in search for missing 16-year-old swimmer at Matagorda Beach

MATAGORDA, Texas (KTRK) -- The Coast Guard is ending its search for a missing teen at Matagorda Beach after a body was found fitting his description.

The family of 16-year-old Joseph Thomas confirmed their son's body was recovered after he did not make it back to shore while swimming with friends.

In a post on Facebook, James Thomas said his son was caught in a riptide, but was able to help save the life of "one young lady" before he disappeared.

He posted a heartfelt message sharing insight on the life of his 16-year-old son.

16-year-old swimmer missing at Matagorda Beach.

He wrote in part, "Joseph had a spirit and personality that belied his youth, an air of confidence that was both encouraging and inspiring. We have been robbed of the gift he was in the flesh while we cherish how he touched us all."

The body of a 29-year-old swimmer was found Sunday morning in Galveston. Officials say his friends lost sight of him after he decided to go swimming at 1 a.m.

The Galveston Island Beach Patrol is reporting strong rip currents along the beaches, with a red flag warning in effect.

Beachgoers are urged to swim near a lifeguard if they're entering the water.

In Brazoria County, officials have closed beaches due to high tides and rip currents.

RELATED: What you need to know about rip currents

"Rip currents are powerful currents of water that move away from the shore. They account for 100 deaths at U.S. beaches annually," according to AccuWeather. "The best thing you can do is know that rip currents do not drag you underwater, they pull you away from shore."

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, AccuWeather suggests to not panic and to swim parallel to the shore until you escape.
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