DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The body of a missing 18-year-old swimmer who was pulled out to sea off Daytona Beach was found Tuesday morning about 7 miles away, authorities said.
The body of Ritchey Dauphin, of Orlando, was discovered around 7 a.m. by beachgoers walking in front of some homes in Neptune Park on Ormond Beach.
"I was just taking my morning walk on the beach and I saw something in the surf that looked like a turtle or something from a distance," the 911 caller said. "As I got closer to it I realized it was a body."
Officials initially said Dauphin was 19 years old.
"He was dressed, trunks and t-shirts were on good muscular young man," said William Daley, who found the teen on Tuesday.
A search for Dauphin was called off late Monday after he was pulled out to sea in rough surf caused by Tropical Storm Beryl.
Dauphin vanished about 5:55 p.m. Monday in the 900 block of Atlantic Avenue, north of Sunsplash Park.
A red flag posted by beach patrol officials warned people to swim at their own risk because of the danger of rip currents.
"(He was) really slim, good health, really funny guy," said Tacorey Williams, who was among a group of six friends who met for a day at the beach, and ended their evening searching for their missing friend.
Dauphin and a friend were swimming in 5 1/2 feet of water when a wave knocked them over.
"Jeff came running to us saying that he's underwater, he's underwater," said Williams.
The friends raced to look for Dauphin and flagged down a lifeguard. Searchers on jet skis and a helicopter searched for Dauphin but didn't spot him.
Williams said the group of friends planned the trip to the beach even though they knew the weather was rough and the waters were dangerous.
"The boys kept going in deeper," she said. "We kept telling him to stay close, don't go out so far, and you know how stubborn guys can be."
Lifeguards said Tropical Storm Beryl cut the powerful rips under the water and the current ran strong and to the north.
"You can be in one area of waist deep water take a step and be in up to your
shoulders," said Cpt. Ray Manchester of the Volusia County Beach Patrol. "It's sobering and the day after we try to be much more on our toes."
About 250 people were pulled from the water over the Memorial Day weekend, officials said.
Lifeguards expect the rip currents to be dangerous through the week, even when the waters look calm.
Meanwhile, a Brevard County man's boat was also pulled out to sea.
Marc Josselson, who was preparing to take his 16-foot Hobi catamaran out for a sail on Monday to celebrate his 60th birthday, said one minute the boat was sitting behind his house on Crescent Beach Drive in Cocoa Beach. The next, it was sailing out in the ocean.
The boat was spotted about six hours later in the Atlantic Ocean, about one mile east of the Cocoa Beach Pier and seven miles from where it was swept away.
Josselson said he will be near the Cocoa Beach Pier first thing Tuesday morning, hoping the tide pushes the boat ashore.
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
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