What to Know
- Two young cousins in elementary school got caught in the surf off Belmar Beach on Thursday evening
- One of the girls died and the other was on life support at an area hospital; she later died
- The Belmar community has since raised nearly $60,000 for the victims' families
A 12-year-old girl pulled from Jersey Shore waters last week after she and her cousin got stranded in the current has died, authorities say.
The girl, who has not been officially identified, had been swimming with her 13-year-old cousin, Mitzi Hernandez, off Belmar Beach Thursday when they started to struggle. The relatives, cousins at nearby Belmar Elementary, were both pulled ashore as bystanders swooped in to save them. Hernandez died that day.
The 12-year-old had been fighting for her life for days before succumbing Monday morning, according to Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty. There were no lifeguards present at the time because the season hadn't yet started.
Doherty was visibly shaken as he talked with residents and reporters at a press conference Thursday night.
"I know we say this continuously, and people hear it all the time, about not swimming unless there are lifeguards present, but it can be very tempting unfortunately," he said.
Meanwhile, the community has raised $57,000 to support the victims' families.