Bodies of Drowned Teens Recovered

The bodies of two teenagers who drowned in the waters off of Riis Park on June 21 have been recovered.

At around 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, the body of Elyjha Chandler was recovered on Beach 114th Street. The morning after, the body of Christian Perkins was discovered around Beach 149th Street. Both boys were in knee deep water around Bay 2 at Riis after 6 p.m. on June 21, when a large wave crashed and took the boys under. Despite a massive rescue operation, they were never seen again.

Perkins had just turned 17 about a week before the drowning. Chandler would have turned 17 on Friday, June 28. Instead, that day, the families held a candlelight vigil for the boys at Riis Park. Both boys, friends since early childhood, lived in Brooklyn and attended high school together.

After the discovery of their bodies, Councilwoman Joann Ariola said, “The bodies of Christian Perkins and Elyjah Chandler have been found. Hopefully this will bring some sense of closure to their families struggling through this nightmarish time. We pray for the families and may the boys rest in God’s eternal peace.”

On Tuesday, July 2, local elected officials held press conferences and events to discuss ways to do more to prevent drownings. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a press conference with the Swim Strong Foundation, calling for the implementation of new swim safety measures. He also called for extending lifeguard hours. He also suggested building new community pools in Rockaway for people to choose over the potentially dangerous ocean. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie met with Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato on Tuesday at the Ocean Park Apartments pool to see the good work programs like Rising Tide are doing to help teach local kids how to swim.

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