Search boats and rescue swimmers tried to find a missing 21-year-old man in Ocean City Saturday, but his body would later be found several blocks south. Photo: Ocean City Fire Dept.

Missing Ocean City Swimmer’s Body Recovered

Less than a week into May, a beach tragedy has already struck Ocean City, Maryland. On Saturday afternoon, a young man went into the water and didn’t resurface. His body was later recovered on the beach.

On May 6 around 3:30 p.m., the Ocean City Fire Department got the call for a missing swimmer off the beach near 25th Street. Several fire department rescue swimmers deployed and began searching for the victim, then reported as a young man in his twenties.

The Ocean City Beach Patrol, Ocean City Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and Maryland Natural Resources Police all helped in the search that went on for hours.

Sadly, someone walking the beach around 5:30 the next morning found a body washed up on the beach 21 blocks south at 4th Street. Ocean City Police identified the body as the missing swimmer, 21-year-old Praise Ezechibueze from New Jersey. Ezechibueze was transported to a local funeral home.

There were no lifeguards on duty in Ocean City at the time Ezechibueze disappeared in the water. Ocean City Beach Patrol begins guarding the 10-mile stretch of sand in the popular beach town on Memorial Day weekend. Police want to remind everyone visiting Ocean City until then to stay out of the water.

In the month of May, water temperatures in Ocean City are typically in the 50s, even as air temperatures on nice days can be much warmer. Ocean City is also prone to strong rip currents, which can challenge even experienced swimmers, particularly when the water is cold.

The Ocean City Beach Patrol’s motto is, “Keep Your Feet in the Sand until the Lifeguard’s in the Stand.” Beach Patrol also holds public outreach events to warn people about the dangers of swimming in unguarded waters. Sunday Afternoon Beach Safety Presentations are held along the entire Ocean City Coast.

-Meg Walburn Viviano