On a day when the temperatures hit the 90s, this New London beach should have been packed with people. But, instead, it has gone from a place of recreation to a memorial.
Friday evening people gathered at Green Harbor Beach to remember 6-year-old Anthony Bernoudy, who drowned while swimming there Thursday.
A little after 5:30 p.m. Thursday Anthony’s family noticed the boy was no longer along the water’s edge.
Police issued a silver alert, and a frantic search followed. Dive teams combed the water, and police searched the surrounding neighborhood.
However, shortly after 11 p.m. rescuers discovered Anthony’s body floating in the water.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.
Jontay, a 7-year-old, had been playing on the beach with Anthony a short time before he went missing. On this night, he came to remember his friend.
“We were friends since we were 2,” said Jontay, who held a baseball and a glove that had been left at the place where the two boys shared their final memory.
“He was dancing in the water with me yesterday,” Jontay said.
Many were stunned by the news.
“This whole community is shocked by this whole thing because a lot of these kids can’t afford to go down to Ocean Beach and everything like that, so they come here. So that’s why this community beach is open for them,” said Earl Wilson.
After all of the tragedy that struck Thursday, parents at the memorial said they’ve learned one thing: They’re going to keep a closer eye on their kids as they play near the water.
“It’s easy to lose track of, especially in a crowd, of where exactly your child is in the water,” said Christa Sieburg. “It gets a little crazy … and you just have to be careful.”