Gazebo Gazette

A search is underway for a missing teen who disappeared off the coast of Mississippi near West Ship Island early Saturday afternoon, officials said.

According to authorities, a youth group of teenagers were with their families traveling out to the prominent Mississippi Gulf Coast island before a young adolescent among the crowd jumped off the boat they were on at around 1:23 p.m. The teen had reportedly not been seen since.

The teen is believed to be from the Hattiesburg-area with the family staying in Pass Christian.

Involved in the search are:

· An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans

· A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Gulfport

· The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Manowar

· Mississippi Department of Marine Resources

At around 8 p.m. the remainder of the youth group returned to the Pass Christian East Harbor where they sat holding on to hope.  The Mississippi Gulf Coast Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) was called to the scene to assist friends and family.

“We called in these groups because we were not sure what to expect from their loss,” said Pass Christian Police Chief Daren Freeman. “The Mayor (Leo “Chipper” McDermott) called in a few priests as well to help the families.”

A large crowd gathered at the harbor to say a brief prayer before leaving the harbor for the night.

Pass Christian Police Department, American Medical Response (AMR), and the Pass Christian Fire Department assisted at the scene.

As of just after 10 p.m. Saturday night, the search for the missing teen was ongoing.  More details will be provided as they develop.