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How Virginia Beach first responders found 2 drowning victims over Fourth of July weekend

A 12-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man died on Sunday. First responders said it's an all-hands-on-deck situation when they get a missing person report at the beach.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach police are working to find out how two people drowned in the Chesapeake Bay just hours apart.

A 12-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man died on Sunday.

First responders said it's an all-hands-on-deck situation when they get a missing person report at the beach.

“We have a multi-agency response,” said Virginia Beach EMS Division Chief Bruce Nedelka.

Virginia Beach police said first responders started searching for 12-year-old Zamari Wilson in the Chesapeake Bay after his mother reported him missing.

It all happened while he and his family visited Virginia Beach from Washington D.C. for the holiday weekend. Search crews said they found Zamari's body in the water around 1:30 Sunday afternoon.

“We call in other resources from EMS, we call in jet skis, we call in additional boats from EMS, the fire department, we call in a helicopter from police, we call in the Coast Guard,” Chief Nedekla said.

A 44-year-old man from Virginia Beach also drowned later that day near the Lesner Bridge, which is not far from where crews found Zamari.

Chief of the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service Tom Gill said lifeguards don't work at the bay beaches off Shore Drive. He recommends people swim in areas where lifeguards patrol the water.

“I know that people want to go find their secluded area of beach, but that can also be one of the most dangerous places to be,” Chief Gill said. “Because you don’t have that protection behind you, you don’t have this team of lifeguards who are highly trained, highly motivated, great people, who are here to protect you and rescue you when you need it.”

In Virginia Beach, lifeguards work at the Oceanfront resort area, Croatan and the North End. EMS lifeguards patrol Sandbridge Beaches.

“Eighty percent of our rescues are caused by rip currents, but then we have shore break,” Gill said.

Both Gill and Chief Nedelka said whether there is a lifeguard or not at your beach spot, it's essential to keep an eye on the people in your group and the water conditions.

“Try to be in a buddy system, know the conditions of the water,” Nedelka said.

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