HOPATCONG - The parents of a boy who was killed when he fell overboard and was struck by a pontoon boat have decided to donate their son's organs.
State police say Christopher D'Amico Jr., 10, fell off the rented vessel that was being operated by his father and suffered a head injury when the 20-foot boat struck him Wednesday at around 1 p.m. in Lake Hopatcong. Police are investigating the accident.
The Mount Arlington boy suffered head injuries and was airlifted to Morristown Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The D'Amico family has taken to social media to share its decision to donate Christopher's organs. Calling Christopher "our son" and "our hero," Laura Tyrpak D'Amico posted a message on Facebook.
According to that message, Christopher's heart valves will save as many as five children, his humerus bone will help a 7-year-old South Jersey girl with cancer and his eyes will help two blind children.
The family's decision to donate had to be made fast and at an obviously heartbreaking time. The D'Amicos hope that the organ donations will turn their loss into hope for others.
Ed Taylor has lived on Lake Hopatcong his entire life and witnessed the aftermath of the fatal boating accident. "By the time I got down here, the ambulance had showed up, and it looked like they were pulling somebody out," he says. "They put him on a gurney."
Taylor and other boaters expressed sympathy and the need for safety on the waters.