VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended search efforts for a teacher who went missing after he tried to help a student reportedly struggling in a rip current south of Sandbridge.
The search to find the 35-year-old man began Tuesday afternoon. Coast Guard officials confirmed their search efforts around 11:25 a.m. Wednesday.
Joel Rubin, CEO of Rubin Communications Group, confirmed to media outlets Wednesday the man who went missing is Rabbi Reuven Bauman — who teachers 7th and 8th grade boys as well as 3rd Grade Judaic studies at Toras Chaim.
Virginia Beach police spokesperson Linda Kuehn says police received the call for a possible drowning at 12:40 p.m. Tuesday.
Kuehn said there was a group of students and a teacher on the beach. The teacher noticed one of the students, a 13-year-old, was in trouble, so he went in the water to help. The student was able to get out, but the teacher has not been located.
Original reports from police indicated the 35-year-old teacher went missing at Sandbridge, Virginia Beach EMS spokesperson Bruce Nedelka later said the search was focused around False Cape.
In an update Wednesday, Nedelka said the area where the man went missing was two miles south of Little Island Park at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s website, there is no swimming allowed on refuge’s beach.
Nedelka said one person was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Emergency crews, including members of the Coast Guard, police and fire officials, responded to the area to search for the man. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and a 45-foot Response Boat from Coast Guard Station Little Creek are part of the search.
Red flags were flying at guarded areas of Sandbridge Beach at the time of the man’s disappearance, indicating dangerous water conditions.