HAMPTON BEACH, N.H. (CBS/AP) – After an 18-hour search, the body of a 12-year-old girl who was swept out to sea off the coast of Hampton Beach was found Tuesday afternoon.
The body of Nayelin Encarnacion, of Lawrence, Mass., was found by patrols that were walking up and down the beach. She was found very close to the area where she was last seen.
Witnesses at the scene on Tuesday said what appeared to be the body of a girl washed ashore at around 1 p.m., and officials later confirmed it was Encarnacion’s body. Encarnacion and her 20-year-old brother Walter Maldonado were swept out just before 8 p.m. on Monday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports.
Maldonado told WBZ-TV he and his sister were part of a group of six people swimming in the chilly water, which was up to his chest.
He said his sister was suddenly pulled out into deeper water and called for help.
“I really tried to help with all my strength, and I just couldn’t,” said Maldonado. “I went over to her and tried to swim to her, and I couldn’t reach her.”
Maldonado went after her as she struggled to stay above water.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.
“I was screaming for help because I couldn’t stay above the water any longer,” Maldonado continued. “I was trying to stay up at that point. And someone came in the water and they grabbed me.”
Encarnacion went under and a Good Samaritan pulled Maldonado out.
“I felt someone grab me and I was semi-unconscious. I felt something pull me towards the shore, and before I knew it I was just there on the edge,” said Maldonado, who added he never saw his sister again.
Maldonado wishes he could thank the man who ran in the water, and pulled him to shore.
“If he’s out there, I just want to thank him for saving me,” said Maldonado.
Police said according to lifeguards, there is no indication there was a rip current at the beach Monday night. There was a strong current, but not a rip current.
The water temperature was about 55 degrees. Experts say those conditions could result in hypothermia in 35 to 40 minutes.
There were no lifeguards on the beach at the time of the incident, but they were called back later to assist in the search. They are normally off-duty at 5:30 p.m.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)