CAPE MAY, N.J. (CBS) — A teenage Cape May lifeguard has died after a tragic accident on the job. The 16-year-old lifeguard, identified by his family as Norman Inferrera III, is from Pennsylvania.
“The Cape May community’s thoughts and prayers are with the family right now,” Mayor Zack Mullock said earlier Friday.
The young lifeguard was critically injured after his rowboat flipped in Cape May.
“The wave hit the boat and capsized it and that happens. And in this situation it didn’t turn out well,” Cape May City Manager Michael Voll said.
Voll says the 16-year-old was knocked unconscious and his fellow lifeguards rushed into the water to help.
“Our trained lifeguards responded right away, brought him to shore and started performing CPR,” Voll said.
“Our lifeguards are top notch and I have seen that demonstrated over the last 24 hours,” Mullock said.
The teen was flown to Cooper Hospital.
Cape May Beach Patrol Chief Harry Back says this was the teen’s first year as a lifeguard, something he always wanted to do.
“He was really living out a childhood dream to do a job that he looked up to his whole life,” Back said.
Back says the Norman was instantly drawn to the rowboats from day one.
“He got hooked to the boats and rowing right away. He was out pretty much every single day. Every morning walked in with a smile on his face,” Back said.
Lifeguards from neighboring towns like Ocean City, Wildwood Crest and Brigantine stepped in to help.
“We say that every day in roll call that we are a family in the morning. It’s never been stressed more in the day-and-a-half on how important that is,” Back said.
CBS3’s Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.