Search continues for Baton Rouge teen lost in rip current
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - A teenager from the capital area is missing after getting swept up in rough waters while on a beach trip this past weekend.
Tyreke Walker was celebrating his birthday with family in Orange Beach when he disappeared Saturday. He turned 14 years old just days earlier.
“I just wish that he comes back,” his mother Canhtam Nguyen told WALA .
Officials in Alabama said it happened shortly after flags at the beach were changed to reflect the dangerous conditions.
Tyreke's father, Clint, nearly drowned trying to pull his son to safety. He was rushed to an emergency room after inhaling too much water.
“He’s like ‘I’m sorry, I can’t come back,’” Clint Walker said. “I grabbed him, and I had him, but the water was just pulling us and pulling us. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I lost his grip. I kept getting thrown to the bottom of the water, and somehow I made it to shore, and he didn’t. I just wish I would’ve held on longer.”
Rescue workers are searching the water and nearby beaches for any sign of Tyreke.
“Right now, our efforts are wanting to bring closure to the family as much as possible, but it’s really a waiting game at this point trying to recover the child,” said Bruce Nelson with Orange Beach Fire Rescue.
The family said they're also looking for a good Samaritan who tried to help.
“I don’t know the guy’s name, but in the heat of the moment—when everything was happening—there was another dude that went out to go save him,” Walker recalled. “I just want to tell him personally thank you for trying to help save my son.”
After seeing earlier coverage Monday, the good Samaritan contacted WBRZ and asked to meet with the family. The man who tried to help, Cody Russell, and his wife met with Clint Walker and Canhtam Nguyen Monday evening. Watch WBRZ News 2 at Nine on WBRZ Plus and WBRZ News 2 at 10:00 to see the two families and hear their stories. See raw video of the family meeting here.
A GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of the Walker-Nguyen family.
Canhtam Nguyen told WBRZ in an interview Monday, the generosity continued with random people paying for their hotel room so they could remain in Orange Beach for free while they looked for their son. Hotel rooms were covered through the week, Nguyen said.
School officials said a memorial is scheduled for next week at McKinley Middle.
On Sunday, another tragedy involving a family from capital area was reported in Mississippi, where a 2-year-old drowned in a pool at a resort.