Nineteen-year-old Eric Silva and his friends came to the Myrtle Beach area today to celebrate his birthday.
The friends - who are from Newton, N.C. - were on the beach at 24th Ave. N. in Myrtle Beach less than 10 minutes when Silva, who was tanning in the sand, heard someone screaming for help, he said.
"I got up the same time the lifeguard came," Silva said.
While he was on the beach, Silva's friend, Jeremy Truitt, 18, was in the water with two other male friends.
All three ran into some trouble in the water, possible rip tide, said Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes.
Truitt, according to Silva, didn't make it out of the water. He was last seen about 75 yards out in the water, said Myrtle Beach police Beach Patrol Sgt. Philip Cain.
The other two teens, ages 17 and 19, managed to get out of the water, Silva and police said.
Authorities have been searching for Truitt since Myrtle Beach police were dispatched at 1 p.m. to 24th Ave. N. and Ocean Boulevard in reference to a possible drowning, Knipes said.
Myrtle Beach Police Department Beach Patrol, lifeguard services, Huffman Helicopters and the Coast Guard have been searching for the teen, Knipes said.
Cain said beach patrol will do a land search throughout the night. The Coast Guard currently is still on scene.
"Conditions today were pretty rough," Cain said about the water. "We recommend when lifeguards are gone for the day that people don't go in the water."
The National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., has issued a warning for Thursday of the risk of rip currents at beaches in Horry County and Brunswick County, NC.
Read Thursday's edition of The Sun News for more information.