Coney Island lifeguards put up red flags

Lifeguards arrived early at Coney Island Beach Monday to place red flags along the shore in areas where swimming is prohibited.The move comes after 10-year-old

CONEY ISLAND - Lifeguards arrived early at Coney Island Beach Monday to place red flags along the shore in areas where swimming is prohibited.

The move comes after 10-year-old Akira Johnson was swept out to sea while swimming with her cousin Saturday at the beach. She is among seven people missing or presumed dead at New York City and Long Island beaches over the past weekend.

The Coast Guard called off the search for Johnson, but the NYPD has continued to search for the girl. They believe she drowned.

Despite the recent tragedies, swimmers are still diving into the water at Coney Island, but with extra precaution. Among Monday's beachgoers was a group of children from the Alpha Summer Camp. The camp takes hundreds of children to the beach every day. Organizers said they make sure to take three lifeguards in with the kids, as well as assistant counselors.

Others acknowledge that the strong rip currents can be lethal.

"I'm a strong swimmer," said beachgoer Alberto Gonzalez. "But if you're under 80 pounds, it's gonna take you."

The reason for Johnson?s disappearance has yet to be identified. However, strong rip currents were noted all over the city this weekend, leaving some swimmers to wonder why they were not warned about the dangerous waters.

One beachgoer said there are no signs on any part of the Coney Island boardwalk indicating the presence of rip currents, only a warning that beaches in general can have strong currents.

Some parents said it?s up to them to keep their kids safe, while other beachgoers believe the responsibility should fall on the lifeguards. Some believe a shortage of guards on Coney Island creates a greater possibility that something will go wrong.

Rep. Anthony Weiner said there is $3 million in federal funding for federal beaches, which would include more lifeguards. Coney Island is not included in these beaches.

Click here to see some tips for swimming safely

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