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Lavallette Officials Recount Rescue Effort in Deadly Rip Currents

Lavallette lifeguard headquarters. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Lavallette lifeguard headquarters. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The man who lost his life in rough surf in Lavallette on Monday has been identified as a 60-year-old Westfield man, but another victim of the persistent rip currents survived and was only taken to the hospital as a precaution, officials said.

Borough Administrator Robert Brice said Lavallette’s police department and Beach Patrol Water Rescue Response Team responded to a 911 report of two swimmers in distress at the Vance Avenue Beach at 11:29 a.m. Monday. Upon arrival, two Rescue Swimmers immediately deployed into the water, while a third member manned a rescue rope on shore, Brice said.

“Lavallette Police and Seaside Heights Water Rescue arrived quickly to assist,” said Brice.

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At the time of the incident, there was a High Rip Current advisory issued by the National Weather Service at the time, and wave heights were in the area of 3-5 feet.

“Rescuers braved treacherous water conditions to recover both subjects,” said Brice.

A 24-year-old man was transported to Community Medical Center for observations, and later released. The 60-year-old man was unconscious when he was removed from the water. He was transported to Community Medical Center by Toms River EMS, where he was pronounced dead.

The pair were reportedly related, but that has yet to be confirmed.

The Lavallette beach closed for the season on Sept. 7, meaning beach badges are no longer required and normal lifeguard operations ceased. A Water Rescue Recovery Team, consisting of three rescuers, is on duty at the Lifeguard HQ from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in standby response mode only, ready to respond to emergency calls with the police and emergency services. Borough officials have said the emergency team only responds to calls; its members do not patrol beaches or perform normal guard duties.

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