WESTPORT — A 14-year-old boy is missing and presumed drowned after he got caught up in a strong current while swimming on Cohassett Beach, about a mile south of Westport.
The boy was identified this morning by the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office as Chester Jellesed of the Westport area.
Jellesed was swimming with another 12-year-old boy at about 5 p.m. Tuesday when “an ocean-side undertow pulled them offshore,” according to a U.S. Coast Guard news release. The 12-year-old friend was able to swim back to shore and maintain visual contact with the 14-year-old for several minutes before losing sight of him, according to the Coast Guard.
The 12-year-old was treated by emergency medical personnel at the scene and is doing fine, the Coast Guard said.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office did an intense search of the area for five and a half hours last night before suspending the search. Coast Guard Public Affairs Specialist Nathan Bradshaw said this morning that the search would not continue today.
“The Coast Guard determines how long someone can survive in the water depending on the conditions, if the person was in a wetsuit, how cold the water was and a determination was made that it was unsurvivable after five hours,” Bradshaw said.
Grays Harbor Chief Criminal Deputy Dave Pimentel said the boy’s parents were on the scene and have been notified.
The Coast Guard launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria, Ore., and a 47-foot motor lifeboat and 25-foot response boat crew from Station Grays Harbor located in Westport to assist in the search, according to the Coast Guard news release. The Coast Guard and the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office also conducted beach patrols in the area where the boy went missing.
Undersheriff Rick Scott said the Coast Guard also dropped buoys to determine that the current was moving in a “hard south” direction.
The boy was wearing swim trunks and did not have a life jacket, although Bradshaw says it’s not very common for a boy his age to wear a life jacket while swimming on the beach.
Bradshaw said anyone in a similar situation should always be aware of the kinds of conditions on the beach.
“This beach, in particular, is known for strong currents,” Bradshaw said.