One young girl died and another is on life support after the pair went for an evening swim off the New Jersey shore.
The girls, who are cousins, went for a dip in the ocean in Belmar Thursday evening — with no lifeguard on duty and no adult accompanying them. Police and emergency responders pulled them ashore around 6:30 p.m.
The surviving girl was in critical condition at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, NJ.com reported. Their names and ages have not been released, but their families have been notified, according to Mayor Matt Doherty.
Both girls are Belmar residents and attended the town’s elementary school, Doherty said.
“It’s rough surf,” Doherty told the Asbury Park Press. “Any time you go into the ocean you take a risk. So that’s why it’s important to swim only if there are lifeguards present.”
“This tragedy happened the day before school ends,” he told CBS, adding that lifeguards are usually on duty when class is done for the year.
Three boats, a helicopter and several lifeguards remained around the beach Thursday night in what appeared to be a search for another missing swimmer, NJ.com reported. But that precautionary search was called off after authorities spoke to the girls’ parents and confirmed no one else was missing.
Doherty told the Asbury Park Press his daughters go to the same school as the two cousins.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “As the mayor of the town, you feel responsible for the residents you serve. In a tragedy like this, one is deceased; the other is on life support — it makes you feel very helpless.”
With Post Wires