NYPD divers on Monday recovered the body believed to be that of a 15-year-old who presumably drowned Sunday while swimming with friends at Beach 88th Street and Beach Channel drive in Rockaway Beach.
While police wait for identification by the Medical Examiner’s office state Senator James Sanders Jr. said he would be meeting with the appropriate government agencies in the coming days to discuss solutions to prevent future drowning deaths along the Rockaway Peninsula.
Friends of the teenager say Joshua Ordozi screamed for help as he was pulled under powerful waves and they were unable to pull him from the rough surf. Ordozi would become the fourth person to drown within the last month. All of the victims entered the water after 6 p.m. when lifeguards are not on duty.
“How many people have to die, before we say enough is enough,” Sanders asked. “Rockaway Beach is beautiful, but it can also be dangerous.”
Sanders is advocating for increased and improved signage all around Rockaway Beach, particularly in areas where the ocean floor dips several feet, the launch of an educational campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of riptides, whirlpools and other conditions that can cause drowning, increased access to supervised public pools and swimming lessons.
“I am deeply and profoundly saddened by the drowning deaths that have occurred in Far Rockaway over the last month and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Sanders said. “I want to make sure no other family has to experience such heartbreaking loss.”
In addition to Odozi, John Munoz, 18, was swept away by strong tides and his lifeless body was discovered July 31, not far from where he was last seen struggling to stay afloat near Beach 60th Street. Umarie Chamble and Keylon Ramsay, a Long Island couple, were celebrating a friend’s birthday on July 9, when they apparently drowned near Beach 9th Street and Seagirt Boulevard, sometime after they started swimming after 10 p.m.
“If we can learn one thing from these recent tragedies and all the previous swimming-related deaths at Rockaway Beach is that safety must come first,” Sanders said. “Having some summer fun is not worth risking your life. I want people to enjoy the beach, but do so during the day and always when a lifeguard is present.”