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Distressed mother prays for miracle on Facebook as son feared drowned in Rockaways

Distressed mother prays for miracle on Facebook as son feared drowned in Rockaways

The heartbroken mother of a 16-year-old boy feared drowned off the Rockaways has asked for prayers on a Facebook live stream shortly after her son disappeared beneath the waves – hoping against hope that she can turn his life around for his

“Facebook… world, I’m not doing this,” Aminatu Noah pleaded in a video posted Friday, tears streaming down her pained face between bouts of heartbreaking sobs. “But pray for my son! Pray for my son! I need your prayers!”

Aminatu Noah pleaded in a video posted Friday, Anguished mother prays for miracle on Facebook as son feared drowned in Rockaways

Jeff Bachner/New York Daily News

An NYPD harbor launch scans the shoreline off Riis Park Beach as the search continues for two missing teenagers who disappeared while swimming Saturday, June 22, 2024.

Noah’s son, Elyjha Chandler, was swimming with friends near Jacob Riis Park Friday night when he and a 17-year-old friend disappeared beneath the waves.

“If I ask you for anything, spare it and take me!” she pleaded, her voice cracking under strain during the four-minute video, filmed as she sat in a car headed to the Rockaways. “Please find him and spare him! He has so much to live for!”

Distressed mother prays for miracle on Facebook as son feared drowned in Rockaways

Obtained by Daily News

Elyjha Chandler was swimming with friends near Jacob Riis Park Friday night when he and a 17-year-old friend disappeared beneath the waves.

First responders were called to Jacob Riis Park’s Bay 2 beach around 6:30 p.m. after the beach was closed to swimmers for the night. NYPD Harbor Unit divers entered the water, lifeboats were dispatched and drones flew above the waterline to search for the two teenagers, but all efforts proved futile.

Aminatu Noah pleaded in a video posted Friday, Anguished mother prays for miracle on Facebook as son feared drowned in Rockaways

Jeff Bachner/New York Daily News

NYPD officers launch a drone as they continue to search Riis Park Beach for two missing teenagers who disappeared while swimming Saturday, June 22, 2024

NYPD Harbor Unit divers temporarily called off their search Saturday night because of bad weather and a high tide, but planned to resume Sunday morning, cops said. Meanwhile, the NYPD Aviation Unit continued periodic flights to search for the teenagers using infrared technology.

“I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless,” Elyjha’s father, Urshel Chandler, 55, told the Daily News. He is estranged from Elyjha’s mother and said he didn’t know what happened to his son until a family friend told him about Noah’s live video. “I just hope they find my son’s body so I can see him one last time.

“I’m just staying, hoping to see his body,” he said.

Lifeguards are on duty at Rockaway Beach from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily during the beach season. Swimming is not permitted while they are off duty.

Elyjha was a junior at Wingate High School and was set to graduate next year, his father said.

“(He) loved to play basketball,” he said. “He played four or five years.”

When Chandler heard what happened, he said he called his son’s cell phone and got the bad news firsthand.

“A little kid answered the phone and was screaming ‘Elyjha has gone under the water and no one can see him,’” he said.

On Saturday, beachgoers watched lifeboats search the water.

“It was sad, very, very sad to hear,” said Nikolai Martynov, who was trying to beat the city’s heat wave with a dip in the ocean. “People come here to get away and relax, and then to hear a tragedy like this is just heartbreaking.”