The family of a teenage boy who went missing in the ocean after drowning with friends late at night say they will not give up hope of finding him alive.
Matthias Becurecion went missing after going for an evening swim with three friends in rough conditions on Scarborough Beach in Perth after 8pm on Monday night.
The group got into trouble in the water, and three of the teenagers were rescued ashore by locals, but the 16-year-old boy, who does not know how to swim, has not been seen since.
Search parties, including water police, helicopters, boats and surfers, combed the area for 36 hours to no avail, and search efforts were halted and a recovery mission was announced Tuesday night.
Matthias Becuresion (pictured) disappeared after swimming at Scarborough Beach in Perth
Despite the change in recovery operation, Matthias’s family has not given up on finding a living student at Myrsi College.
His uncle, Pastor Tesfaye Mebratu, prayed for continued rescue efforts.
“Please keep searching, keep searching,” he told Western Australia. “Matthias had a very strong faith and we will pray for him constantly.”
Matthias moved to Perth from Ethiopia two years ago and was popular with the local Ethiopian community and the Eternity Sabeh Church.
“He was a very talented boy, he never went out. “He spent most of his time at school or at home with his family,” said Pastor Mebratu.
The local community was devastated by the incident, along with his mother, who is in Ethiopia and was told the tragic news.
A life-saving patrol car scans Scarborough Beach during a search for Matthias on Tuesday
Acting inspector at Mirabuka District Office Cindy Morgan said rescuers were unlikely to find Matthias alive.
“This is a tragic incident and we will support everyone involved, including family, friends and witnesses,” she said.
Inspector Morgan said authorities were still unsure how the teens got into trouble in the water.
“Whether it was a jump that took them out or they were hit by a wave, it is unknown to us at this stage,” she said.
“We believe he was an inexperienced swimmer and that obviously makes it difficult to keep his head above water.”
A witness said he saw four people screaming in the water before a local man rescued one of them.
Matthias went swimming with three other teenagers, who were rescued by locals, but Matthias has not been seen since. Pictured: jet skis along Scarborough Beach on Tuesday
Search efforts went well overnight and included water police, helicopters, boats and lifeguards.
“Four people were in the water, all screaming,” he told Western Australia earlier.
“Two young men came out, and two younger ones were still in the water. A boy in his 60s jumped in and rescued one of them. ‘
The search video showed search vessels clearing water in the dark.
Six vessels from the Police Water and Marine Rescue Volunteer supported by Rescue 651 searched the ocean.
“The entire FSR fleet, including the R100, Resolute, Rover 2 and Gemini 1, is part of a multi-agency search on Scarborough Beach,” said the Fremantle Sea Rescue.
The search was also assisted by a RAC helicopter, police air wing, local and water police, Whitford Marine Rescue and fire and emergency services.
Meanwhile, locals, police and surf rescuers were seen searching the beach for torches.
After a 36-hour search, police changed Matthias’ rescue into a recovery operation. Pictured: Fremantle Sea Rescue leaves base to join search