The body of a U.S. Air Force member who was pulled by a rip current on a Southeast Texas beach was found by his father after a nearly 48-hour search.
Ernesto Posana found his son, 22-year-old Elijah Posana, on his own around 7 a.m. Tuesday, a day after the U.S. Coast Guard called off rescue efforts, he told KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston.
The search for Elijah Posana began when he disappeared Sunday at Surfside Beach near Freeport, south of Houston.
He was swimming about 100 feet from the shore when someone witnessed him being pulled by a rip current, the Coast Guard said.
A boat crew and a helicopter crew were deployed to help find the man, but the Coast Guard ultimately suspended its search Monday evening.
Authorities said crews were searching for Elijah Posana for 28 hours, covering about 100 square miles.
“The decision to suspend a search is always an extremely difficult one to make,” Capt. Jason Smith, Sector Houston-Galveston commanding officer, said in a news release. “Every time we run a search and rescue case, we think of the missing as our own and in this case, the missing is a fellow service member which definitely weighs heavily on our hearts. Our deepest condolences go out to the airman’s family and friends.”
Ernesto Posana had pleaded with authorities earlier Monday for additional resources in helping find his son, telling KPRC that “we cannot just wait like this for his body to go to the inland water.”
After he found his son, KPRC said he called the station and told them “no one was searching for him with me.”
Elijah Posana had been stationed in Missouri and was at the beach to vacation with his family, KPRC reported.