BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – One girl has died and another is on life support after being pulled from the waters off the Jersey Shore.
“We had a tough night in Belmar tonight,” Mayor Matthew Doherty said.
The Coast Guard assisted Belmar authorities with a water rescue around 6:30 p.m. Thursday near Ocean and Ninth avenues.
The mayor said the elementary school aged girls were cousins and had no adult supervision. There were no lifeguards on duty.
“We usually start lifeguards the day after school ends. This tragedy happened the day before school ends,” Doherty said.
The sunny day drew many to the beach, including one mother who witnessed the rescue of one of the girls.
“I saw someone being pulled out on a stretcher. Someone was doing CPR on that person,” she told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
The mayor said it was police officers who rushed into the water to pull one of the girls out and medical teams rendered aid. But then they heard of a second victim.
“When they were wrapping up, we heard another call while on the beach that there was another person face down. At that time, we went back in, brought another girl out of the surf,” Doherty said.
The tragedy has some calling for lifeguards on the beach every day earlier in the season, Castro reported.
“Someone is not alive right now because of this,” the witness said.
At one point there were reports of a possible third victim, but the mayor said that’s no longer the case.
Doherty also said there will be a discuss Thursday night with the chief of police as to whether lifeguards will be on the beach Friday.