2 Drown at NJ Lake, Toddler Pulled From NY Pool as Summer Tragedies Mount

Teenagers have accounted for five of seven drowning victims across the tri-state area in just the last week or so

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Two people drowned at a New Jersey lake Tuesday evening, around the same time a toddler was pulled from a backyard pool on Long Island — more tragic reminders of the dangers that come with kids (and adults) looking for some summer fun in the water.

In New Jersey, Morris County officials said that EMS personnel were in the parking at Mine Hill Beach along Green Road after 5 p.m., when a group told them that two people went into the water at the sand pits and never came out.

The EMS contacted other first responders from the area, and immediately conducted a search, which came up empty for the 17-year-old and 20-year-old who disappeared, officials said.

EMS and police from Wharton, Roxbury and Randolph performed an extensive search of the lake where the two were last seen, but they said it was complicated due to tangled vegetation underwater. After hours of searching, one of the bodies was found.

The second body was recovered soon after. Neither of the drowning victims, both males, have been identified. It was not known if they were experienced swimmers.

There are warning signs in English and Spanish warning that no lifeguards on duty, and that swimming was off-limits, as it has been for more than two years. The mayor told NBC New York that the town has had difficulty finding lifeguards to keep watch over the small section of the lake where swimming is allowed.

Also during the evening, just before 6:30 p.m., a 2-year-old on Long Island was pulled from the water of a backyard pool in another drowning scare.

Yellow tape blocked off the residential area around Barbara Drive in Centereach, as the toddler went under at a home's pool. It's unclear how long the child was in the water.

The boy, whose relatives own the home where the pool is located, was not breathing and was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital. He was said to be in serious condition as of Wednesday morning, according to a Suffolk County police update.

The latest drownings and near-drowning come after several drownings across the tri-state in just the past week, with the summer season still yet to officially begin. Of the five previous drownings, four of the victims have been teenagers.

About 50 miles west of Centereach, funeral services took place for drowning victim Daniel Persaud. The 13-year-old and his friend Ryan Wong were swept off a sandbar Friday afternoon and pulled into the rough currents of Jamaica Bay.

Two teenagers were swept away while standing on a sandbar with a group of kids along Jamaica Bay, News 4's Chris Jose has more details.

Persaud's devastated parents, relatives and friends released balloons into the evening sky, mourning the young man who died as he was trying to have some early summer fun with friends.

Also on Tuesday, the body of a 59-year-old woman was found after she went missing Monday night when she went into the water at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County.

Cops say a man told them his wife went into the ocean around 8 p.m. Monday and did not return. Her body was found around 11 a.m. Tuesday. Her identity has not yet been released.

Earlier in June, two brothers in New Jersey drowned at a pool during a community swim event at a school, despite three lifeguards on duty. Brothers Chu Ming Zheng, 19, and Jack Jiang, 16, died after a school official said they were in a separate pool inside a Bayonne school, not the one the lifeguards were watching.

Three lifeguards were on duty at the pool, police said, as questions swirl about how the tragic incident involving the brothers could have occurred. NBC New York's Brian Thompson reports.

The American Red Cross provided tips both for those going swimming, and those in charge of keeping an eye on those in the water.

  • Provide constant supervision for children and non-swimmers
  • Learn to swim — it's unclear if all the victims in recent days knew how to swim and how well
  • Look for lifeguards
  • Swim with a friend who stays closeby
  • For non-experienced swimmers, wear a life jacket
  • Learn CPR

Some of the tips would not have made a different for some of the tri-state's recent drowning victims, but experts hope the hints can help save lives as the summer heats up.

Cities and towns throughout the county fear there won't be enough watch eyes at beaches and pools, as many municipalities have struggled to hire enough lifeguards. COVID lockdowns also delayed some training courses, but even those who are trained are looking for better-paying jobs.

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