Tragedy in NJ as 2 teens die after falling through thin ice

Chaffin Mitchell

A pair of tragedies unfolded in New Jersey on Wednesday night when five teenagers fell through thin ice covering ponds in two towns across the state. The separate accidents left two teens dead and numerous others injured, including the emergency responders who worked to save them.

In Carteret, located about 25 miles southwest of New York City, a 15-year-old boy identified as David Tillburg was pronounced dead at Newark's University Hospital after being removed from the pond. A second teenager was successfully rescued and saved by the Carteret Fire Department.

"Our prayers are with the boy and his family as medics, police, firefighters and agencies from all over the county respond," Mayor Dan Reiman said.

In photos that emerged after the tragedy, Tillburg appeared to be posting pictures to Snapchat of himself on the ice before the fall, according to ABC7 reporter Derick Waller.

In a separate, unrelated accident, another teenager died after three kids fell through the ice on a pond near Civic Center Drive in East Brunswick around 5 p.m., according to ABC7. East Brunswick is located in central New Jersey, about 40 miles outside New York City.

Paramedics formed a human chain to try to pull the teen out of the ice-cold water. Police worked for nearly an hour to save him but say the boy slipped under the ice. Prior, the two survivors managed to pull themselves out, where they called 911 to save their friend.

"Temperatures there this evening were in the upper 20's, which is below freezing. However, over the past several days temperatures there have been cold enough at night to generate some ice, dropping into the teens," AccuWeather Meteorologist Derek Witt said.

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"However, daytime highs have been in the 30s and even close to 40 degrees, so developing ice that would've been thick enough to safely walk on would have been very difficult."

The fire department arrived after the police pulled the teen out and gave him CPR. The boy, who was an 8th grader at Churchill Junior High School, was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:45 p.m. EST Wednesday night according to a statement from East Brunswick officials.

Eight emergency responders were also treated for hypothermia afterwards.

"This is an absolute sad tragic situation for everyone involved, for the victim, the officers that responded," said East Brunswick Police Chief Frank LoSacco. "They sacrificed themselves willingly and ran right in full equipment and did the best they could given the circumstances."

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