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Rescue divers wave off after placing the body of a missing 8-year-old boy into a rescue boat. Personnel from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, Boynton Beach and Palm Beach County were at the Boynton Inlet on June 13, 2024,  searching for the youth who went missing while fishing off the south jetty at Ocean Inlet Park west of State Road A1A. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

 

By Anne Geggis and Mary Kate Leming

A fishing outing turned tragic at Ocean Inlet Park in Ocean Ridge early Thursday, with multiple agencies rushing to respond to reports of a missing child presumed to have fallen into the water, only to recover his body hours later.

Authorities said the 8-year-old boy was fishing with his father when he disappeared from his side at about 6:30 a.m. 

The pair were fishing at Ocean Inlet Park, on the south jetty on the west side of the State Road A1A bridge over the Boynton Inlet,  which is also called the South Lake Worth Inlet, authorities said.

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Family members react after the child's body was found. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

One of the pair turned to attend to some fishing equipment and when he looked up, his fishing companion was gone, said Capt. Tom Reyes of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

The 6900 block of North Ocean Boulevard (A1A) was briefly closed to traffic as the rescue effort involving dozens of first responders ramped up.

Officials said that at 10:39 am, the Boynton Beach Fire Rescue Dive Team found the child's body on the north side of the inlet. The Medical Examiner's Office is now investigating.

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Divers, firefighters and police look along the north wall of the inlet for the missing boy. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

Multiple agencies, including the U.S. Border Patrol and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, responded to the inlet with divers, inflatable boats, Jet Skis and helicopters.

“We have numerous resources checking the waterways,” said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, as the effort got underway.

Reyes of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said the search mission was declared a “recovery” operation at 7:55 a.m..

The jetty at Ocean Inlet Park is a popular place to fish — one of the few places in the county open to fishing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thursday morning, there was a strong current in the inlet with the outgoing tide, but the ocean was relatively calm.

12645303878?profile=RESIZE_710xRescue efforts off the coast of Ocean Ridge included helicopters, Jet Skis, boats and divers. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

 

 

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