Vigil held to mourn teen who fell through frozen pond in East Brunswick

Posted: Updated:

Friends, family and loved ones gathered in East Brunswick Sunday afternoon to mourn a 13-year-old boy who died after falling through thin ice on a pond near the town municipal complex.

Yousef Khela was walking on the ice with two friends last week when it shattered. The two friends were able to get out and ran for help. Firefighters and police officers formed a human chain to try to get Khela out of the water, but he later died at the hospital.

At the vigil, friends and classmates lit candles, placed flowers and put up pictures of Khela. They remembered him as a caring person and loving friend.

MORE: Police: Teen dies after falling into icy pond in East Brunswick

“Yousef was, not a friend, not a best friend. He was a brother. He was kind, carrying and loving,” said Benjamin Awadalla, one of Khela's two friends who survived the fall into the icy pond.

"He was always a big joy and he would always be there when we needed him,” said friend Mariam Masr.

Khela was one of three people who died last week in separate incidents of falling through the ice. David Tillberg, 14, died on the same day as Khela when he fell through the ice in Carteret. Two days later, a man fell through the ice at Monksville Reservoir in Passaic County. He died the next day. His name has not been publicly released.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that first responders rescued Khela’s two friends.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."