Officials: Girl drowns in Belmar, 2nd girl hospitalized

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BELMAR -

A 13-year-old girl is dead and her 12-year-old cousin is on life support at a hospital after they were pulled out of the ocean Thursday evening in Belmar, officials said.

Authorities said the girls were swimming at the Ninth Avenue Beach around 6:30 p.m. when it is believed that they were pulled in by rip currents.

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty explained how the girls were found after a 911 call was made.

"Police officers themselves went into the water and were able to take one (of the girls) out. Belmar police performed CPR all the way to the hospital,” he said. "When they were wrapping up, we heard another call. There was another person face down at that time. We went back in and brought another in out of the surf."

Doherty said the two girls were found about a block away from each other in the water. Both children were taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, but the 13-year-old did not survive.

While the girls' names have not yet been released, News 12 learned both attended Belmar Elementary School and were reportedly swimming without any adult supervision.

No lifeguards were on duty at the time of the incident, which is typical for this time of year. They were scheduled to start full time on Monday, but Doherty said borough officials are considering putting lifeguards on duty on Friday.

Belmar School Superintendent David Hallman said social workers and counselors would be on hand Friday for students throughout the district.

"We have a number of locations in the school where we have counselors and social workers, and we also have our staff that know the students that are with the professionals from the other districts in case they need to know the specifics about the child," he said.

The mayor said a prayer service will be held for the victims at 1:30 p.m. Friday at St. Rose of Lima Church on Seventh Avenue.

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