EMERALD ISLE -- Emerald Isle police confirmed that the body of 17-year-old Elijah Hinnant of Goldsboro was recovered about 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The teenager was swept out to sea and drowned while swimming over the weekend.
Emerald Isle Police Chief Tony Reese said emergency services responded
to a report of a body floating in the water in the 7700 block of the beach strand at about 7:55 a.m.
"Police, fire and EMS personnel deployed rescue swimmers and a jet ski and were able to identify and recover the body of 17-year-old Elijah Hinnant, who went missing this past Saturday at 6:08 p.m. on June 10," Reese said during a press conference.
Reese said Hinnant's body was about a mile from the shore.
The Wayne County teenager entered the water at Emerald Isle Saturday evening but did not resurface.
Hinnant was with 16-year-old Tyreese Worsley also of Goldsboro, Reese said.
Reese said Hinnant went to Emerald Isle with three of his friends to spend the day at the beach.
Hinnant and Worsley were caught in a rip current while swimming. Worsley was rescued by a nearby surfer, taken out of the water by rescue personnel and then taken to Carteret County Health Care Center before being flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
Reese said Worsley remains in critical condition.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for Hinnant Sunday before the body was found today.
"According to the information we received from the family, neither of these young men were strong swimmers," Reese said. "I want to take this opportunity to convey our deepest condolences to Elijah's family and to say our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both these young men."
Hinnant and Worsley had both just finished their sophomore year at Eastern Wayne High School.
"We are heartbroken and devastated by the loss of our student, and the condition of the one that is at Vidant," said Eastern Wayne High School Principal Lee Johnson. "It's a real loss to our family. We're a close-knit school, and we're just heartbroken by what's happened."
Johnson said Hinnant played on the junior varsity football team at the high school.
The boys were well-known and well-liked at the school, she said, and she knew both of them.
Johnson said the school was not planning to organize any formal service. Had school been in session -- school let out for the summer Friday -- she said grief counselors would have been on hand and things would have been organized for those suffering from the loss.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," Johnson said. "There's another student that witnessed it all that we have to think about how he's going to handle all that, and we just want to help them in any way we can."
She said she has visited with the Hinnant family since the accident. Johnson added that she also went and visited Worsley in the hospital Monday.
"We've lost Elijah, but we're still holding hope that Tyreese might pull through this," Johnson said.
The high school's class of 2017 graduated Tuesday night. Johnson said an empty chair was present at the front of the graduation for all the students who had not made it to that day -- including Hinnant.
Johnson said in honor of all those students, she held a moment of silence at the beginning and end of the graduation in their memory.
"They were both kind of quiet, they hung out with their friends and they were just sophomores. They were teenagers," said Eastern Wayne High School Assistant Principal Carol Watson. "They were always pleasant, very polite."