QUEENS, N.Y. - An investigation is underway after a late night swim in Far Rockaway turned to tragedy Tuesday night.
Police say 25-year-old Umarie Chamble and 28-year-old Keylon Ramsay drowned after they were found in the water near the shoreline at Beach 9th Street and Seagirt Avenue.
Shari Famartin says her cousin, Umarie, was the girlfriend of Keylon Ramsay. She says both of them lived in nearby Inwood on Long Island, and were at a friends birthday party Tuesday and after, her cousin was trying to teach her boyfriend how to swim.
"I was in shock, denial, disbelief, I'm still in disbelief," Famartin said.
Police say the two had been drinking before entering the water.
They were found unresponsive around 10:20 p.m. and pronounced dead at the hospital.
Famartin says they were a happy couple and lovingly describes her cousin, who was a home health aide.
"She's fun loving, easy going, good to be around, family oriented, my daughters love her," Famartin said.
The Reynolds channel where the couple was found only has lifeguard on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All other times swimming is technically prohibited.
Signs also warn of strong currents and drop-offs. Residents say it can be dangerous.
"It's terrible, it's really terrible, people just need to think before they go into the water, and even if you're a decent swimmer, once that rip current comes in, and you are maybe drinking a little bit, you're not gonna know what to do and you may panic and it's really really sad," said one resident.
Famartin hopes people take heed of the safety warnings as well, as her family mourns.
"She'll be missed, dearly," she added.
The city medical examiner is now working to determine the official cause of death as the investigation continues in this sad and tragic case.