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Coast Guard suspends search for missing teen off Jersey shore

(Reuters) - The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday called off a search after looking for 20 hours for a missing 14-year-old swimmer who disappeared a day earlier after getting caught in rough water in Ocean City, New Jersey.

The boy was last seen swimming on Sunday night with friends, said Petty Officer Cindy Oldham, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard in Atlantic City, New Jersey, about 11 miles northeast of Ocean City.

"He and his friends were caught in a rip current, and he didn't make it back into shore," she said.

The Coast Guard was alerted of the missing boy at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oldham said, adding that he was wearing white swimming shorts.

A search covering 20 square miles was conducted on Monday but was called off just before 4 p.m. after it failed to turn up the teen.

Oldham said the search could be resumed if further information surfaces, such as a report that the boy had been spotted.

The Coast Guard was continuing its regular operations in waters near where the boy went missing, Oldham said.

Fourteen other people caught in the current were pulled safely from the water by a local rescue team, local media reported.

Beaches in the area are closed to bathers after 5:30 p.m. on Sundays, according to the Cape May County Herald.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Susan Heavey and Sandra Maler)

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