DEM IDs missing swimmer recovered at Scarborough State Beach

South County

NARRGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Search teams recovered the body of a missing swimmer at Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett Monday morning.

The R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) identified the man as Matthew Smith, 64, of Fitchburg, Mass.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, an aircrew from Air Station Cape Cod located Smith around 7 a.m. Monday.

Crews resumed their search around 5 a.m. after rough sea conditions forced them to suspend the operation around 11 p.m. Sunday, according to the Narragansett Fire Department.

R.I. Environmental Police Chief Dean Hoxsie said Smith and his girlfriend were vacationing in the area and Sunday night was their first time on the beach. The girlfriend told police Smith had gone for a swim while she walked the dog and when she got back, he was nowhere to be found.

Lifeguards were off-duty when the couple arrived at the beach around 7:30 p.m., according to the Department of Environmental Management.

“A tragic loss, especially with the conditions we’ve had here over the weekend,” Hoxsie said.

She hopes that the incident will remind everyone to avoid ending up in a similar situation.

“If there are no lifeguards on duty, if the sea conditions are as they are now and as they were last night, don’t go in the water above your knees,” she said.

Hoxsie said the risk of rip currents was high at Scarborough on Sunday, and multiple people told Eyewitness News they saw lifeguards working overtime.

There is still a risk of moderate to severe rip currents in area waters on Monday.

The DEM reports that over the weekend, lifeguards saved approximately 30 swimmers at the state’s eight beaches.

Rip Current Safety: Spot the signs and how to escape »

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