Three 14-year-old boys drown swimming in river; one initially struggled to stay afloat, two others tried to help

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, August 1, 2019

Three 14-year-old Mississippi boys drowned Thursday afternoon after one of the three began struggling to keep his head above water and the other two tried to rescue him.

The boys were swimming in the Biloxi River in Gulfport when the accident occurred. Police said witnesses told them that one of the boys began struggling when another went into the water to help him. That would-be rescuer started having trouble and the third boy went in to help.

All three eventually went under the water and did not resurface. The three were part of a larger group of youth swimming in the river as they took advantage of the last few days of summer break before school restarts.

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The victims were identified as Travis Roberson, Javonte Johnson and Eric Smith Jr.

Gulfport Police reported they were called at approximately 4:08 p.m.

Rescue Divers with the Gulfport Fire Department, Harrison County Fire Services and the Mississippi Mortuary Response Team, entered the waters of the Biloxi River and recovered the bodies of two juveniles at approximately 6 p.m.

The third juvenile was recovered around 7:25 p.m. Several agencies, to include the Biloxi Police Department, Mississippi Marine Patrol and The Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, responded to the river to aid in the recovery. The incident is being investigated as accidental.