New Hanover County--A rescue effort is now a recovery effort after a teenage boy went underwater at Snow's Cut Bridge, on the Intercoastal Waterway.
The teen and two other family members were out swimming Saturday afternoon when the day turned tragic.
New Hanover County resident Gloria Locklear has three young children and said no mother should have to witness what she saw Saturday afternoon. "I looked across the river and I saw a guy who looked like he was drowning!"
It was just after 1:30 p.m. when Locklear and several other bystanders noticed what was happening. "I said, 'Call 911!'" Locklear said. "'There's a child across the river drowning!'"
Officials say a 13-year-old boy, the boy's father, and a younger child were all in the water when the younger child became distressed. Sgt. Jerry Brewer with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department said, "The father pulled that child out, and as he was pulling that child out, the other child went down."
It's a heart-wrenching story of a father who put his own life at risk while trying to save his child. He was able to get to the younger child to safety, but couldn't reach his son in time and had to be rescued himself.
A woman on scene, who identified herself as the 13-year-old's grandmother, says the boy's name is Shandon Wright, Jr.
Dive crews, multiple police agencies and the Coast Guard were all called in to help search the area that many say is treacherous. "Snow's Cut is a very dangerous piece of water," Sgt. Brewer said. "... one of our most dangerous pieces of water in New Hanover County."
People watching the recovery efforts described the incident as sickening, and Locklear said the images in her mind of this day will not soon be erased. "It was heartbreaking," she said. "To me, it was."
Officials called off the search at 7:00 p.m. Saturday. Recovery efforts will start again at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.