TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An 11-year-old girl died after police say she was electrocuted while swimming in a lagoon behind a home in Toms River, New Jersey this weekend.
As CBS2’s Erin Logan reported, neighbors were mourning Sunday night for the little girl whose life was cut so short. It was supposed to be a fun night for the girl and her friends, but the water turned tragic, 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman reported.
Family friends identified the victim as Kayla Matos, of Newark.
Toms River police say they responded to 45 Tobago Ave. at 8:12 p.m. for reports of a possible electrocution of a young girl.
Police said Kayla was swimming and using an inflatable raft with two of her friends when two of the girls touched the rail to a metal boat lift, sending an electric current through their equipment and causing the fatal injury.
Within minutes, Toms River police and EMS arrived and took over CPR that was begun by adults at the home.
First responders then utilized an automated external defibrillator before rushing the little girl to Community Medical Center, where was later pronounced dead.
Police say the girls were wearing life-jackets in the presence of adults at the time of the tragedy.
Neighbors who live close by say said the parent’s worst nightmare situation was not entirely surprising.
“A lot of people in our community have boat lifts, and some of them have gone down since (Superstorm) Sandy, and a lot of wires are hanging since Sandy,” said Annemarie Brooksbank, “and some people don’t think about what they need to repair. It’s not even a thought, and then until this happens.”
Brooksbank said even before this tragedy, she has been warning her children about such dangers.
“If you see anything you have got to be careful about what you’re kayaking or swimming or jumping in by the dock, because this is all kind of new to us,” she said.
According to the non-profit Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, “There is no visible warning or way to tell if water surrounding a boat, marina or dock is energized or within seconds will become energized with fatal levels of electricity.”
Anthony Casale, another Toms River resident, said the situation is just devastating.
“She was too young,” Casale said. “My heart goes out to her family, and it’s just a sin. And you know, it’s just a lesson, You know, you can’t fool around with anything by the water.”
Kayla was visiting friends at the Tobago Avenue home, according to police.
The girls who were swimming with the 11-year-old were evaluated at the scene and determined to not be injured.