POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The search was suspended late Sunday evening for a 24-year-old woman who went missing overnight while swimming off the Jersey shore.
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, crews had been looking for Zuzana Oravcova all day Sunday – but there was no sign of her.
Police in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey arrived on scene around 2:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving calls about two missing swimmers — a man and a woman. They had gone into the ocean and ended up in distress due to high surf conditions, police said.
The woman was identified as Oravcova, the man as Thomas Kadlec, 23, Point Pleasant Beach police said. Both are from Slovakia.
The U.S. Coast Guard says Kadlec was able to swim to shore, while Oravcova was not.
Upon reaching the shore, Kadlec immediately notified a boardwalk employee who called police.
“We’re working with the Coast Guard, so the Coast Guard — as well as the north beaches — have been searching pretty much all day,” said Chris Li, captain of Bayhead Beach.
Li said the crews have been combing miles of water – beach after beach – from Point Pleasant near 300 Beach Ave. where the Oravcova was last seen, all the way to Island Beach Park.
“We’re on patrol. We have all our guards with binoculars waking by foot in the search area — at least in Bayhead,” he said.
A Jenkinson’s Boardwalk employee confirmed that Oravcova was a foreign exchange student working at the boardwalk.
“They come over on visas and they work, you know scope; go up to the city, explore a bit of the United States,” said Bayhead Beach supervisor Hank Handchen.
People said it is common for swimmers to go in for a dip after hours when there are no lifeguards around.
“A lot of people prefer to come here at that time because all the crowd leaves and there’s no lifeguard,” said John Hewitt of Point Pleasant Beach. “People like the fact that it’s a little more secluded.”
“It’s been happening up and down the shore,” Li added. “After hours or before hours is when people are getting in trouble.”
It was especially dangerous this weekend after a storm offshore. The National Weather Service issued a warning for high rip currents.
Oravcova has been entered into the National Crime Information Center database as a missing person.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Point Pleasant police.