Erik Larsen, @Erik_Larsen
AVON - A search was underway Saturday night in the area of the Shark River Inlet for a missing 17-year-old boy from Westfield, last seen diving or snorkeling by himself, according to authorities on the scene.
Late in the evening, authorities had recovered some of the teen's personal belongings. Authorities were expected to resume full recovery operations on Sunday morning.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press
First responders from all over coastal Monmouth County were on the scene, searching the water for the missing boy. Additionally, the Coast Guard said it had deployed a 29-foot response boat with a small rescue crew from Station Shark River and an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City to aid in the search.
Also searching are members of the Avon-By-The-Sea and Belmar police departments, which have local jurisdiction over each side of the river.
On Saturday night, the Shark River Inlet was closed to all civilian maritime vessel traffic for the safety of search and rescue divers looking for the teen, according to the Coast Guard.
Kathy O'Keeffe, an Avon resident, was watching the rescue crews look for the missing teen from a sidewalk near Ocean and Washington avenues in her hometown. She expressed her concern for the fate of the boy and wondered aloud what anyone would be doing diving near the Shark River Inlet, where she said locals know how much maritime traffic is coming and going between the river and the Atlantic Ocean.
Moreover, the weather had turned stormy on Saturday afternoon.
"It was beautiful earlier today, we were good until about three o'clock and a thunderstorm came in for about 15 minutes," O'Keeffe said. "Then about 4:30 or so, it let loose and we had a big storm."
Erik Larsen: 732-682-9359 or firstname.lastname@example.org