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Human chain disbands after officials cannot confirm swimmer was missing

Authorities say there was no evidence of a missing swimmer after beach-goers banded into a human chain Monday afternoon.

Lt. Joey Crosby of Myrtle Beach Police said in an email that emergency services were unable to confirm a missing swimmer after a report of one came in at about 3:19 p.m.

“Officers spoke with numerous individuals on the beach, and at this time no one has been reported as missing,” Crosby wrote in an email. “Beach officials will continue to monitor the area; however, at this time, there is no evidence to indicate that there was a distressed swimmer.”

Lifeguards and beach-goers were searching in the area of 75th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.

A lifeguard reported a possible swimmer in distress after a crowd was hit by a wave and resurfaced in a group that appeared to be one swimmer short.

Myrtle Beach Ocean Rescue crews deployed jet skis into the water and a drone into the air to search for any signs of someone in distress. A throng of beach-goers also linked arms, forming a human chain to scan the surf.

Molly Kucharski was swimming at a nearby pool when a beach-goer rushed up to say rescuers were in need of good swimmers to form a human chain to find a missing girl. She joined the crowd in the surf, walking arm in arm with strangers united for a common cause to help someone in need.

Others in the crowd had heard a young boy was missing.

Lt. Jonathan Evans of the Myrtle Beach Fire Department said that no one else had reported a missing swimmer or a missing person.

The search was suspended 40 minutes later.

Human chains are frequently used to search for missing swimmers, and one was used to rescue an entire family in the water in Panama City, Florida, earlier this month.

The Grand Strand has seen a relatively quiet summer so far for beach rescues, though authorities announced on Sunday that Raymundo Garcia, of Gainesville, Georgia, died at Grand Strand Medical Center after being rescued from the water near 24th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.

Check back for more on this breaking story.

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