The three males entered the water in the Delaware Bay to go swimming during low tide conditions. As they were in the water, the tide changed, and the strong current pulled all three into the Murderkill River.
S. BOWERS BEACH (DE): Delaware State Police say first reponders, who have been searching for two missing swimmers frantically on Tuesday afternoon have pulled their bodies from the Murderkill Creek where they were last seen early Wednesday morning.
Officials say that the two missing swimmers were identified as 21-year-old Kevin George Jr. of Philadelphia and his brother, 20-year-old Zion George of Tennessee.
“At 2:59 p.m., the Delaware State Police responded to the Muderkill River/South Bowers area for a report of two swimmers that had been carried away by the strong water currents.,” said Delaware State Police spokeswoman Heather Pepper.
Officials say the two traveled with two other friends from Philadelphia, a 20-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man to the South Bowers Beach area together for a day trip on Tuesday afternoon but when the men entered the water, the scene turned from fun to tragedy in less than five minutes.
Not even five minutes after the men entered the water, nearby fishermen, one of which was a volunteer at South Bowers Beach Volunteer Fire Company, began hearing screams for help. The screams were the result of the men being dragged out in strong currents by a quick changing tide system. Eventually, the men ended up in the Murderkill Creek and that’s when things turned worst.
As the dramatic scene was unfolding, the two fishermen, the Assistant Chief of South Bowers Beach Fire Department Michael Hignutt who was with his cousin, Timothy Smith, heard the screams and sprung into action. Both entered the water in an attempt to rescue the swimmers.
Hignutt successfully rescued one of the men and brought him to shore. When he got the man to shore, he discovered the female had entered the water to try and save the men. The female was then pulled out by the current, and Hignutt successfully rescued her.
In the meantime, multiple multiple police, fire departments, maritime, and Emergency Medical Service agencies responded to the scene to assist in the rescue efforts. The search went on throughout the day for the two missing swimmers Kevin and Zion. Sadly, first responders were unable to locate them and by 9:00 Pm., the search was called off.
On Wednesday morning the operation turned into a search and recovery operation and around 10:30 am. Kevin was located deceased in the Murderkill River in close proximity to where he was last seen. Shortly after, Zion was also located deceased in the same general area.
The group of friends never thought that a fun planned day with their friends during the height of the pandemic would bring such tragedy.
If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1800 842-8461). You may also email the unit Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.