‘Judgement Day’ celebration tragedy for US boy

Gaby Leslie

A US teenager who leapt into a fast-flowing river to celebrate the world not ending is presumed dead.

Anthony Johnson jumped into the river with a group of friends when an outlandish ‘Judgement Day’ prediction made by preacher Harold Camping fell flat on Saturday evening.

[Story: Apocalypse not: doomsday prediction falls flat]

The missing 17-year-old was reportedly ‘overwhelmed by the current’ and cried for help as he was swept away by the Kalamazoo River in Comstock's Merrill Park, Michigan.

According to reports, Johnson’s friends warned him not to jump because he wasn’t a good swimmer.

Search and rescue teams were deployed on Saturday evening but there was no sign of him.

Police said yesterday that their search has now turned into a recovery operation as they believe that they will not find him alive.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas said: “Think of it as like a super rip tide. There's nothing you can do. This is probably worst-case scenario in terms of recovery.”

He also added that search efforts were threatened by the river's strong current, flowing at about 15 knots, or 20 mph.

Anthony’s friend, Jordan Skinner-Knapp – one of the last to see him alive - told the Kalamazoo Gazette that he and a group of five of his friends were excited the world didn’t come to an end as predicted and wanted to celebrate by jumping off the bridge.

Speaking of the ordeal, he said: “The current overtook him and I tried to pull him out but he kept trying to pull me down and I couldn’t get him out of the river.”

A two-year-old boy was safely pulled out of the river hours earlier at the same spot.

Evangelical priest Harold Camping issued an apocalyptic prediction for 21 May 2011, claiming that 3% of the world’s population would be raptured.