Officials now say the search is a recovery mission.
The U.S. Coast Guard and police could be seen looking for the boy in what officials now say is a recovery operation.
The boy disappeared just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said the boy had been swimming with his 11-year-old brother, who was rescued and taken to the hospital.
“The conditions aren’t great in the water. There is very low visibility, so it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” he said.
Multiple agencies assisted in the search. Rescue crews used jet skies and boats as lifeguards formed a human chain to scour the water for the child.
Kemins said the area the boys were in is extremely dangerous.
“There is a rip current, it’s the Atlantic Ocean. They went in the water near the jetties and that’s the most dangerous place to go in the water,” he said.
Along with the dangerous conditions, right now there are no lifeguards on duty during the week so swimming is not allowed. Officials say Saturday is the first day of full-time lifeguards.
Despite the warning signs, one Long Beach resident says more safeguards should be in place.
“This is not a swimming beach. There should be more patrol here,” she said. “This is an 8-year-old that drowned in there. This is every year. When is it going to stop? What are they going to do to protect this community?”
“I think you have to watch your children, whether or not there’s a lifeguard,” said beach visitor Carol Hofman. “I do not take my eyes off of my children.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound at 203-468-4401.