SPRING LAKE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A recovery effort was underway Sunday night to find the body of a 15-year-old boy who police said drowned after he got caught in a rip current during the afternoon.
Spring Lake police were expected to continue to search overnight before being joined by state police Marine and Aviation units on Monday morning. The victim has been identified as Josiah Jeremiah Robison of Ewing, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.
Police Chief Ed Kerr told Rozner that at around 2:45 p.m. the teen was in the ocean with his 13-year-old sister when they needed to be rescued on Brighton Avenue Beach. The young girl was pulled out of the water, but the teen was not.
The chief said around 100 lifeguards from nearby beaches, including Belmar and Manasquan, tried to find the boy. Rozner reported also seeing drones from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office being used.
“It’s just tragic. I feel for the family,” Spring lake Heights resident Bill Attardi said.
Chief Kerr explained what conditions were like leading up to the tragedy. Rozner also spoke with a witness.
“Lifeguards did have a yellow condition on their beach, meaning that the wave action was more treacherous than normal, and they were only allowing people in to their waist,” Kerr said. “But, as you know, in the ocean, an unpredictable wave can knock you and all of a sudden you can be in an area you cannot touch (the bottom) and we believe that’s what happened today.”
“One guy said, ‘I’m a good swimmer and I had a difficult time,’ and then they said they had a difficult time getting lifeguards back in. So they used ropes to pull them back in. It was that rough,” witness Rose Sandford said.
“I have a newfound respect for lifeguards. They were out there for a longtime those men and women. They did an excellent job. They were really trying hard to find that boy,” witness Bill Lundy said.
The currents were so strong further down the Jersey Shore in communities like Cape May that lifeguards actually didn’t allow anyone in the ocean, Rozner reported.
A moderate risk for rip currents is expected Monday, but Chief Kerr said the beach in Spring Lake will be open if conditions allow.