WILLIAMSBURG - Emergency crews are combing the East River for 21-year-old Steven Middleton.

Friends say they were swimming in the East River when Middleton, who was in the water first, apparently got caught in a current and swept away. The group says it was celebrating its graduation at the time of the incident.

It happened off the north Williamsburg shore, near North Third and River streets at around 6 a.m.

Officials scoured the area by boat, as well as in the air. They also sent divers down below into the water. Relatives and friends say Middleton is a good swimmer and they are holding out hope that he is OK.

After crews turned up nothing, the search-and-rescue operation turned into a recovery effort.

Police say the three other young men that were with him were removed from the water and are all in stable condition.