911 Call for Boy Missing in Ocean Gave Wrong Info

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The initially 911 calls made for a Philly teen who was swept away in the ocean were released, revealing that the wrong information was given regarding where the teen was located. NBC10's Ted Greenberg has the details. (Published Wednesday, Jul 2, 2014)

    Three days after 14-year-old Corinthian Hammond disappeared in the Jersey Shore surf, there is still no sign of the Philadelphia teen. As the investigation into his disappearance continues, NBC10 obtained 911 calls made the day he was swept out to sea which reveal that the wrong information was initially reported to authorities.

    Hammond was swimming with a group of friends near a beach early Sunday evening in Ocean City when they suddenly were swept away by a rip current. No lifeguards were on duty at the time. Several Good Samaritans went out into the water to rescue the group but became caught in the current as well.

    The first 911 call was made around 6:44 p.m.

    “There are people out here, they’re screaming for help at the shore!” the caller said. “Out here by the boardwalk, we need help out here.”

    “I need to know where you are,” the operator said. “The boardwalk runs from 1st to 24th Street.”

    “14th Street, boardwalk!” the caller replied.

    It turns out however that Hammond and his friends were actually near the 9th Street beach. The call led to an initial response from Ocean City’s after-hours beach patrol crew from their headquarters at 12th Street. When they arrived at the 14th Street beach at 6:48 p.m., they saw nothing, as more calls came in. One caller told the dispatcher the teens were near the fishing pier. In reality they were by the music pier.

    Another caller and reports from police officers on the boardwalk ultimately led lifeguards to the correct location.

    “There are some kids drifting off into the ocean,” the caller said.

    “14th Street?” The operator asked.

    “This is 9th and the Boardwalk,” the caller said. “It looks like somebody is trying to go out there and save them but there are no lifeguards out here. Oh my God! Oh my God!”

    Lifeguards arrived at the 9th Street beach at 6:50 p.m., five minutes after the initial call was made. Everyone was rescued except for Hammond, who had already vanished into the water. After searching the ocean for two days, the coast guard suspended the rescue effort for Hammond.

    "After the Coast Guard searched for approximately 20 hours, covering more than 20 square miles with multiple search assets by air and sea, we have suspended our search for the missing boy in Ocean City," said Capt. Kathy Moore, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, in Philadelphia. "Our sincerest condolences go out to his family during this incredibly difficult time."

    A spokesman for the Ocean City Police Department told NBC10 that the department will review the incident and likely make changes based on the investigation. Those changes may include placing more visible signs on the boardwalk letting people know exactly where they are.