BELMAR, N.J. — A 12-year-old girl who was on life support for days after she was facedown in the ocean at the New Jersey shore has died.
Emily Gonsalez Perez’ cousin, a 13-year-old girl, died Thursday from the same incident. Mitzi Hernandez was lifeless when beachgoers carried her onto the sand.
The two girls entered the rough surf in Belmar Thursday night when no lifeguards were on duty and without having an adult to watch them. Police and emergency responders pulled them ashore around 6:30 p.m.
Mayor Matt Doherty said the girls were locals and attended the town’s elementary school. Friday was the last day of classes and lifeguards don’t begin watching the water on weekdays until school lets out for the summer.
“This has gotta be the worst day in history for Belmar Elementary School,” Doherty said.
Teenage swimmers were also recently swept away by a strong current in Atlantic City. Authorities discovered the body of 16-year-old Kaliyah Hand on Monday morning in Margate, a few miles south of Atlantic City.
Kaliyah’s 15-year-old friend Ramon Quinn tried to rescue her but was himself swept away Thursday. Police say both were pulled underwater by the current. Ramon remains missing.
Kaliyah was from Atlantic City. Ramon was from Pleasantville.