Brooklyn man missing after late-night swim in Long Beach

Posted: Updated:
BROOKLYN -

A 30-year-old Brooklyn man went missing while swimming in Long Beach early Monday morning, police say.

After a night of drinking, a group of three adults went swimming around 2 a.m. in the water near Long Beach Boulevard and East Walnut Street, according to authorities. There were no lifeguards on duty at the time. 

Only two of them made it back to shore.

"When they felt they were being pulled out, they turned around and made it back to shore," says Paul Gillespie, Long Beach's chief lifeguard. "However that man in his 30s did not come out of the ocean."

Eight people have drowned at the same jetty over the years, authorities say. According to Gillespie, a combination of rough ocean water, a riptide and the lack of lifeguards on duty made the water especially dangerous.

The missing man was last seen wearing a beige swimsuit. He weighs about 170 pounds. Officials identified him as Neil Gibbons, a native of Ireland.

His disappearance prompted a large search effort by the Coast Guard, the Long Beach fire and police departments, the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department, the Nassau County Police Marine Bureau and the NYPD's aviation unit. A search plane from Boston also helped.

The Coast Guard suspended the search Monday night after 29 hours. His body has not yet been recovered.

The Coast Guard is urging swimmers to only swim when lifeguards are present.

Last week, a 10-year-old boy drowned in the surf off Long Beach. He had also gone swimming with no lifeguards on duty.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."