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Queens Chronicle

Jamaica High School Student Drowns Off Long Island Beach

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Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2005 12:00 am

Giju John, 16, of Flushing, drowned last Sunday and his body was discovered on shore Monday near Roosevelt Boulevard in Long Beach.

According to police reports, Giju was swimming in waist-deep water with a family friend and his 21-year-old brother, Ginu John, when the powerful wave crashed and hauled Giju to the deep waters.

The youngster, who was asthmatic, did not know how to swim. Ginu, who was very close to his brother, made several attempts to rescue him from the violent current, but was unsuccessful.

Ginu and the friend were pulled to shore by lifeguards. The brother told reporters how he watched Giju struggle in the water. Ginu went out to help him but the powerful waves came in and sucked his brother from his arms.

Giju, whose family came to America from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates three years ago, was to be a senior at Jamaica High School, where he was an honor student. According to his family, Giju wanted to become a pediatrician.

Over 60 lifeguards from area beaches joined forces to search the waters for the drowned teen. After more than two hours, officials called off the search because of the violent thunderstorms that had erupted. According to meteorologists, Tropical Storm Irene may have contributed to the strong current.

Giju’s death comes after a 45-year-old man from Staten Island drowned last Saturday while swimming with his family in Moriches Bay, also a Long Island beach.

A police statement said the man, Steven Godoy, was staying at a summer home in Westhampton Dunes when he went into the bay to call some family members for lunch. The man tried to swim part of the way across the water and began to struggle. His family and lifeguards tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.

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