Community Expresses Shock Over Loss; Friends Of Fallen Take To Social Media

MOUNT OLIVE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Family and friends shared hugs and tears after learning the body of one of two teens had been pulled from an icy lake on Tuesday.

Mount Olive Mayor Robert Greenbaum said it appears the teenagers, identified by friends as Clyde Schimanski and Nick Cianciotto, went onto Budd Lake to ice fish Monday evening. A published report said the body pulled from the lake was Cianciotto’s, according to WCBS 880.

Parts of the lake were frozen solid, but others were too thin to support much weight, town officials said.

“I have condolences for the family that lost their child today,” Greenbaum said. “The entire community grieves with them.”

Friends of Cianciotto told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello he talked about ice fishing at school hours before the tragedy.

“He like drew a whole diagram of how he was going to make a hook and everything. I told him it would be stupid to go out on the ice when it was 50 degrees, melting,” Paul Sarya told Aiello.

The father of Schimanski told both 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck and WCBS 880’s Sean Adams that his 15-year-old son, Clyde III, apparently rode his bike out on the ice to try to rescue the other teen.

“There were people saying Clyde was out there and he saw the kid go through the ice and Clyde went to save him on his bicycle and then they both went in. And then people from the shore heard them screaming,” he said. “He’s just a great kid. I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Schimanski’s stepmother, Lynn O’Brien, was in shock.

“This can’t be happening! This can’t be happening!” O’Brien cried.

O’Brien told Aiello she recently warned Clyde about the lake.

“Clyde told me, ‘Oh but I can stand up, it’s so shallow,'” O’Brien said. “No. I told him when there’s a break in the ice, you can’t you lose your way out of there, can’t find your way back up.  I just told him on Friday.”

Nick Cianciotto (Facebook)

Nick Cianciotto (Facebook)

Billy O’Brien refused to join his two friends, telling CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider, “I even walked out a little bit and I could feel the ice was starting to get weaker, so I said, ‘no, this isn’t going to work. I’m going home.’”

He said Schimanski and Cianciotto called to him from the middle of the lake, telling him to walk hundreds of feet out to join them for ice fishing.

“I was like no, dude. I don’t trust this ice,” Billy O’Brien said.

With Schimanski’s body still missing, Billy O’Brien said he will wait as long as it takes.

“I want to be here when they find him. I know it’s going to be a terrible scene, but I just want to be here,” he said.

Friends have taken to social media to post condolences for Schimanski and Cianciotto.

brianna brannin ‏@Bellaaaababeeee tweeted, “Prayers for Nick Cianciotto and the others who passed away today at Budd Lake. Rest in peace.”

Payton ReHill ‏@PaytonReHill also tweeted, “R.I.P Nick Cianciotto. We grew up together when i lived in Mount Olive, i wish we keeped in touch.My wishs go out to your family&friends.”

Police said the boys fell into the water around 6 p.m. on Monday. People near the lake said they will never forget hearing them cry for help.

“‘Help, help, help!’ A young kid’s voice screaming for help, and it was pretty heartbreaking,” said Matt Stanchak.

“It sounded bad, he sounded cold, he sounded scared,” James Christina of Hackettstown said of one of the victims, adding when asked what he remembers hearing, “‘I don’t want to die. Help me.'”

Steve Thulin said he watched from the shore as his friend raced out with a boat to try to save the boys.

“He couldn’t get close enough to rescue the kids but he did see two kids in the water. He saw their heads sticking out of the ice,” he told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown. “The screams will stay with him forever.”

“It’s not something which is guarded. It’s a natural lake and people use the facility, the lake to do whatever is appropriate during the season and I can tell you that’s probably what happened,” Greenbaum said.

Residents said the lake appeared safe as recently as this past weekend. After a stretch of frigid temperatures last week, it was frozen enough to hold crowds of people.

“It’s fine. It was frozen,” said resident Semna Ferrara. “They were ice sailing and everything.”

“This is like a … I don’t know, some kind of destiny that this was gonna happen to him,” Schimanski’s father said.

“I don’t know what’s God’s way for him. I should have went before him.”

The search ended for the day late Tuesday afternoon after crews spent nearly seven hours using Sonar to scour the ice and water, Aiello reported.

The search will resume Wednesday.

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