ATLANTIC CITY — Fire and health vehicles are joining a Coast Guard vessel and helicopter in the resumption of the search for a missing 10-year-old Philadelphia boy.
The search, continued this morning after it was halted last night because of darkness, takes place as the occasional beachgoer walks by.
The boy went missing Sunday night when he was pulled under the water while swimming with his family after lifeguards were no longer on duty.
Khitan Devine and his family had been swimming for less than 10 minutes off the beach near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when a strong current swept them toward a jetty about 7 p.m., said Rosemary Brown, Devine's stepmother.
"The current was so strong. All we seen was him pulled toward the jetty, and he went under," Brown said. "We was all in it."
The U.S. Coast Guard, State Police and others searched for the boy for more than two hours using a helicopter, sonar technology and divers. The search attracted a large crowd to the water's edge, many of whom said they stayed to pray for the family while the search was under way.
Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Rod Aluise said last night that the search would be suspended shortly after 9 p.m., when emergency responders could no longer see well enough to search effectively.
Police said the search resumed this morning.
Initial reports were conflicted regarding how many members of the family were pulled from the water. Brown said bystanders rescued her and three of her children. However, officials at the scene told media outlets that one girl was pulled from the water by a Good Samaritan. Police did not identify anyone involved in the rescue.
Lifeguards typically close out the beach by whistling swimmers out of the water at 6 p.m. and give the water one last scan shortly before they leave for the night. When they did so on Saturday evening, they spotted a pair of men in distress — also at the jetty at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Aluise said.
Neither could swim and both got caught in a rip current that carried them 150 yards out. The rescue required four lifeguards, he said.
"This is a dangerous area. Lifeguards keep people away from this area all the time," Aluise said.
As of noon Sunday, the Atlantic City Beach patrol made 54 rescues so far this year, including 20 over Memorial Day weekend. Beaches have been more crowded than usual, which Aluise attributed to warm air and water temperatures.
Last year, lifeguards had 851 rescues and 1,367 in 2010. None of those incidents resulted in deaths.
As nightfall set in, a group of about 20 bystanders joined hands with Brown on the beach and prayed that Devine would be found. Those leading the prayers said that God knew where the boy was and would watch over him.
Staff writer Steven Lemongello contributed to this report.