South Boston

Swimmer Found Dead in South Boston Hours After Brother's Rescue Is Identified

Two brothers went missing while swimming at Pleasure Beach near Castle Island; one was rescued but it took crews six hours to find the other's body

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The body of a missing swimmer was recovered Thursday by a dive team and emergency crews following a massive search effort off William J. Day Boulevard in South Boston.

The 19-year-old Boston resident was recovered from the ocean at 7:25 p.m., roughly six hours after the search first began, Massachusetts State Police said.

He was identified Friday as Joao Alves Teixeira.

Shortly before 1:30 p.m., state police received a report of two swimmers in the water at Pleasure Beach near Castle Island who were in need of rescue.

Investigators said Teixeira and his brother were swimming relatively far from shore. Lifeguards blew their whistles signaling them to come back, and then they realized there was trouble.

Fire officials said one of the brothers suffered a medical emergency.

"Two guys in the water, one supposedly had a seizure," said John Soares, of the Boston Fire Department.


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State police Maj. Mark Kiley said lifeguards were on scene and they went into the water and did an active rescue, bringing one brother to safety.

"DCR did a great job recovering the first guy, getting him out of the water, he got checked in by EMS and he's fine," Soares said.

Witnesses watched as the lifeguards rescued the 20-year-old, who was pleading for his brother to be found.

“He was wailing, saying, 'help him,'” one woman recalled.

The brother who was rescued by lifeguards told family and friends back on shore that he just couldn't find his younger sibling.

“He dove under to try to save him, couldn’t find his body, he reached and reached and reached,” family friend Nylton Andrade said.

A Boston Fire Department dive team, assisted by state police marine and air units, searched the area for hours before finally finding the 19-year-old. Boston and Quincy police also assisted.

Grief stricken family members waited along Pleasure Beach as the hours ticked by Thursday. City trauma teams were on scene to help console them.

Officials say it was not an easy search because the water is vast and divers had varying accounts about where the young man was last seen.

“Thirty feet of water but visibility was only about two to three feet, so in two to three feet, it takes a long time to clear even a small area,” state police Sgt. Patrick Foley said.

Family friends say the victim was a student at Boston International Newcomers Academy, and that he was a good swimmer.

“He loves riding his bike up and down this pathway here," Andrade said. "They’ve been swimming in this water rain or shine for five days, you know.”

Boston Mayor Kim Janey said her heart is with the victim's family.

“This is just very, very tragic," she said.

Due to the high number of drownings this year, state officials were at the same spot last week warning people to be cautious as they hit the water.

While the water appears very calm in the area, swimmers tell NBC10 Boston it can be deceiving -- the currents can pick up in certain spots and it can get quite deep unexpectedly.

"It really depends, like today right now is a calm day, but if you notice out by the gates, the water can churn up pretty significantly, whether the tide is going in or out, so when we swim typically around the perimeter, we keep a distance from the gates, because even really accomplished swimmers can get caught up in that current," Laurie Craigen said.

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