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'A young man with a bright future' | 12-year-old from DC drowns on Virginia Beach family vacation

A Northeast D.C. middle school community is grieving 8th grader Zamari Wilson, who died in the incident. "This is a devastating loss," his principal wrote.

WASHINGTON — A 12-year-old boy was found dead over the weekend after going missing while swimming in the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Police identified the child as Zamari Wilson of Washington, D.C. According to the details provided by police, he was staying at the Delta Marriott off Shore Drive with his family. 

Wilson was an 8th grader at the D.C. public middle school Eliot-Hine, and his death is deeply grieved by the community.

"As a cherished member of the Eliot-Hine family, we know that he will be greatly missed by all who knew him," wrote Principal Marlene Magrino in a letter to school parents. 

"On behalf of our faculty, staff, and students, I extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends," she continued. "Zamari was a young man with a bright future. Our teachers have all shared what a joy he was to have in class. He was a musician and a talented artist. He was kind to those around him and a good friend. This is a devastating loss."

The principal noted that mental health teams will be made available to all students, families and school personnel during such a difficult time. 

Police said that on the day of his death, Wilson was last seen around 10 a.m. swimming in the water about 20 to 30 yards offshore. 

A police spokesperson said Virginia Beach Fire Department, Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services and the Coast Guard helped "conduct a comprehensive search of the land and water, in the area he was last seen."  

Wilson was found in the water just before 1:30 p.m., where he was taken to an ambulance, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

The Coast Guard said it launched two 29-foot boats from Coast Guard Station Little Creek, as well as an MH-60 Jayhawk Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City.

This was the first of two drownings within roughly a mile of each other.

On the same day, for the second time, first responders recovered the body of a man who drowned in the Chesapeake Bay off of a Shore Drive beach.

According to the Virginia Beach Police Department, the victim was a 44-year-old man, Ryan Michael Neal, of Virginia Beach.

RELATED: Second person in one day drowns off Shore Drive in Virginia Beach

RELATED: Child drowns at pool in Fairfax County, police say

RELATED: Body of 17-year-old from Annapolis found after disappearing while swimming in Ocean City

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