Authorities in New York launched a desperate search for a five-year-old boy who fell in the Harlem River on Saturday, as a witness said the last thing they saw was a small ‘arm sticking out of the water.’
The United States Coast Guard NYC and Tri-State confirmed on Saturday evening that they were looking for a young boy who vanished near the shoreline of Randall’s Island.
The child was last seen climbing a tree near Bronx Shore Road near the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge around 2.40pm, New York Post reports.
Luis Ramos was coaching children playing soccer when the incident happened. He said that the child’s arm was briefly visible in the water as parents frantically combed the area.
‘The parents jumped in, that’s why they’re wet. They jumped in to look for him. A couple of other parents jumped in too. The thing is it’s so dark you can’t see anything in the water,’ Ramos told the publication.
‘I heard the parents going: “Over there! Over there!”‘ he said. ‘I saw a little arm out of the water, that was it. The last thing I saw was an arm sticking out.’
Ramos said that the child and his family were playing at Randall’s Island when he thinks they approached the water.
‘Everybody was just playing around and I guess they went to the side of the water and something must of happened,’ said Ramos.
Rosa Mencia, a local who was at Randall’s Island with her family, told New York Daily News a similar account and said she saw the young boy running towards the water.
‘The family were in the field with the children and many children were playing soccer,’ she said. ‘Then one child was running, just running to the water.
‘The boy — he went right down. People ran into the water, and they couldn’t get him. They were crying.
‘I looked at the father and he threw himself to the floor. He was crying.’
Karim Hutson, another witness, told NYDN that nearby witnesses dashed over to help in the search after the boy disappeared.
‘I saw a bunch of people running towards the water and people started stripping. Immediately everybody started looking to try and see if they can find the kid,’ said Hutson.
‘There was about four or five folks in the water and I guess 10 or so people running around the shore trying to see if they can locate the kid and they just couldn’t find him… Everybody was trying to see what they can do.
Hutson added that the incident was ‘tragic’ and ‘Honestly, there’s so much litter in the water it’s hard to see.’