ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - UPDATE, 6/25 9 a.m.: Orange Beach search crews are continuing the search for a 32-year-old missing swimmer who was last seen Sunday afternoon.
Orange Beach safety director Melvin Shepard says crews are patrolling the beach and evaluating the water conditions.
Shepard says underwater searches cannot be done at this time because of the six foot surf. He also said water visibility is poor.
Shepard says the Coast Guard is on standby if needed but, because of the water visibility, he doesn't know how beneficial the they will be.
June 24: Coast Guard helicopters and safety personnel are have called off the search for a 32-year-old swimmer who went missing around 1:45 p.m Sunday along the beaches of Orange Beach, Ala.
Gulf Shores lifeguards and Orange Beach Fire Rescue members are assisting with the search for the missing man, which began Sunday afternoon. They stopped shortly after dark Sunday, but plan to pick back up Monday morning.
"We heard the siren from the lifeguards 4-wheeler coming down the beach and we noticed people pointing out to the water and so we saw two individuals out in the water," said Kelli Tucker.
Witnesses say the father and son got into the water and the current pulled them hundreds of yards down the beach.
The man's 14-year-old son tried to swim out to save him, but was unable get to him before he submerged, according to the Orange Beach Safety Director, Melvin Shepard. The teen was able to reach safety.
Ken Hodge, who was on the beach, said as witnesses scanned the horizon, they saw the teen's head rise above the water. He said the teen said he had his father in his arms but "just couldn't hold on."
"The only way I know how to describe it is God just brought him out of the water, the 14-year-old just came up. We went out into the water and got him while the lifeguard went out and tried to find his dad," Tucker said.
Shepard said the lifeguard entered the water near The Island House Hotel on Perdido Beach Blvd. He said the lifeguard got halfway to the swimmer when the man was pulled under and did not resurface.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Orange Beach fire and rescue and surf lifeguards from both Orange Beach and Gulf Shores began searching for the 32-year-old man.
Double red flags were flying at some places along the beach which means the water is closed to swimmers.
"There are some condos that aren't flying double red flags and I believe it was a single red flag where the individuals went in the water," Shepard said.
Shepard said while double red flags are flying, steer clear of the water.
As tropical storm Debby approaches, the water can be dangerous. Shepherd said some see the waves and think they will be fun.
"But they don't understand the danger. You have currents pulling on you from different directions and it is very dangerous," Shepard said.
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