EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — One teenager is dead and another is in the hospital after two separate icy pond emergencies in New Jersey on Wednesday.
On a frigid January night, rescue crews responded to two bodies of water in New Jersey for teenagers who fell through the ice, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reports.
The first incident happened just before 5 p.m. on Civic Center Drive in East Brunswick.
Three teenagers fell through the ice of a pond behind several municipal buildings, including the police department.
Two of the boys were able to get themselves out and called for help.
“The boys called 911 and then once we got the call, officers in the building actually ran out to the pond, which is, like I said, right behind us,” East Brunswick Police Lt. Frank Sutter said.
Six officers formed a human chain to try to reach the 13-year-old, but he was stuck under the ice.
Fire crews were eventually able to pull him out, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
According to the East Brunswick schools website, the victim was an eighth grader at Churchill Junior High School. Counseling will be available for students and staff.
Six police officers and two firefighters were treated for hypothermia. Two of those officers and one firefighter were taken to the hospital.
One other officer was involved in a car crash while responding to the scene and was taken to the hospital.
The other incident happened in Carteret.
“It’s pretty terrible,” neighbor Salma Ebrahim said. “There was some kid under the water from 7 [p.m.] to 8 [p.m.] and they couldn’t find him.”
Witnesses say a group of teens were skating on the pond at Carteret Park despite posted signs to keep off the ice.
“Usually around this time, the surface freezes so they go skating on it, but I don’t think it’s that cold to make the whole thing frozen, so that’s why it maybe broke,” Ebrahim said.
The Carteret Fire Department says initially two teens were in the water, but one was able to get himself out. Water rescue crews eventually pulled the second teenager out and rushed him to University Hospital in Newark.
His condition is unknown at this time.
Both incidents, police say, are a tragic reminder to stay off the ice, no matter how safe it might appear to be.
“I used to serve on our water rescue team and we had a little mantra that we went by. We said no ice is safe ice,” East Brunswick Police Chief Frank LoSacco said.