Police identify man who drowned at Toms River beach, three others rescued in rough surf

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – On Saturday, September 18, 2021, at approximately 11:20 AM police and EMS were dispatched to 2nd Ave and Ocean Terrace in Normandy Beach for a swimmer in distress. Witnesses reported that a male was caught in a rip current and struggling to keep his head above water. Joseph Gates of Hopatcong, entered the water with his surfboard and was able to keep the victim above water. Two additional surfers, Thomas Galbraith of Warren, and Colin Cronin of Lavalette, also entered the water with their surfboards and were able to assist Mr. Gates and the victim back to shore. There were no injuries and none of the involved parties required medical assistance.

At approximately 12:30 PM police and EMS were dispatched to 8th Avenue and Ocean Ave in Ortley Beach for multiple swimmers in distress. A 22 year old female from New Fairfield, CT was the first swimmer to be pulled out of the ocean by friends and was treated by EMS and transported to Community Medical Center by a Toms River Ambulance. At this time she is stable and expected to make a full recovery.

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A 29 year old male from Freehold was the next victim to be pulled out of the ocean, also by friends. He was conscious and treated by EMS as he was transported to Community Medical Center with medics on board. He is listed in stable condition.

The third victim, a 27 year old female from Brookfield, CT, had been going under water multiple times and appeared to not be moving. A rescue wave runner from Seaside Heights Fire Department was able to rescue her and bring her to shore. The firefighters onboard the wave runner performed CPR as they brought her to the beach. Once on the beach, EMS and medics continued CPR and were able to regain a pulse prior to her being transported to Community Medical Center. At this time she is listed in critical condition.

Police officers cleared the township’s ocean waters of all swimmers due to the dangerous water conditions.