UPDATED: Search for Missing Swimmer in Rehoboth Surf Ends

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UPDATED – 09/04/23 1:30pm – The search for the missing swimmer, 31 year old Richard Boateng of Savage, Maryland has been called off. He was found on the beach in the area of the North Shores community just before 6am this/Monday morning. Rehoboth Beach Police and multiple other emergency officials were called for a sighting of a body in the surf and it was positively identified as Richard Boateng. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A death investigation is being conducted by Rehoboth Beach Police and the Division of Forensic Science – foul play is not suspected.

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About 22 minutes after lifeguards went off duty on Sunday, the Rehoboth Beach 9-1-1 center received about a dozen calls reporting a man in distress off Rehoboth Avenue. That sparked a massive multi-agency multi-hour surf search off Rehoboth Beach.

“I thought somebody was waving his hand,” says a witness on the beach who identified himself as Mohan. “Probably he was shouting ‘help’ and we suddenly realized, yeah, he needs help. So then I started shouting ‘Help! We need a lifeguard.’ We were shouting, shouting, shouting and finally when I turned to this side. I can’t see him. He just lifted his hand and he drowned,” Mohan added.

Off-duty Rehoboth Beach Patrol guards assisted by other beach patrols conducted several searches of the surf. Several groups of a half dozen or so guards clung to a rope as they dragged it through the water parallel to the beach — just like on Bay Watch.

The Sussex County Lifesaving Association community came together Sunday night, one observer pointed out. They performed valiantly despite the circumstances, he added.

Police later identified the missing man as 31-year-old Richard A. Boateng of Savage, Md.

He apparently was in town with others including his girlfriend who has been in close contact with police.

Photo courtesy Phil Gansert

The lifeguards, the Coast Guard, DNREC, the state police helicopter, Rehoboth Beach police and the volunteer fire company were unsuccessful in locating Boateng.

At one point around 6:30 p.m., the massive holiday crowd shifted its focus when another man was pulled up on the beach just south of Rehoboth Avenue. He was still conscious, but exhausted and was taken to the hospital.

Photo courtesy Richard Tananis

The search for Boateng continued into the darkness using mostly Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter. They also fired several parachute flares hoping to spot him.

Photo courtesy Richard Tananis

If this indeed is determined to be a drowning, it would be the city’s only one of the season.


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