Boy dies from fall into icy pond — hours after same happened to another teen, in another town
CARTERET — A teenage boy died hours after falling into icy Carteret Pond, according to borough first-responders.
David Tillberg had been recovered from the water within an hour by Carteret police, fire and EMS crews. His fall happened just hours after a similar incident in East Brunswick left a 13-year-old boy dead.
Tillberg had gone to Carteret Park with another teen, who also had fallen into the pond but managed to get himself to safety, fire officials said.
"Our small community is saddened and shocked over this tragedy; we take solace in knowing that our emergency services responded and did all they could in an attempt to rescue him," Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman said on his Facebook page.
Reiman shared the link to a GoFundMe page setup by the teen's aunt to help cover funeral expenses, and said the Mayor’s Charity Trust Fund also will make a donation to the family to help with costs.
Tillberg was an eighth-grade student at Carteret Middle School, according to Borough Schools Superintendent Rosa Diaz, who said in a written statement "There are no words to describe the great sadness our students and staff are feeling right now. Please be assured we will provide every resource possible to support all those affected."
Carteret schools brought in grief counselors Thursday and the Borough Chaplain Corps was available as well, Reiman said.
In East Brunswick, the 13-year-old who died has been identified as Yousef Khela, according to the East Brunswick Interfaith Clergy Council. On the council's Facebook page, a post said "We offer our condolences and are praying for the family of the young child."
East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools Victor Valeski said the teen who died was an eighth-grade student at Churchill Junior High School. The other two teens involved also are Churchill students, according to Valeski.
Khela and two friends had fallen through ice at the pond at East Brunswick's Civic Center Drive, where the township's police headquarters is located, just before 5 p.m., according to township police.
Police said they formed a human chain and entered the water to try and reach the boy, but he slipped under the ice, where he remained until East Brunswick firefighters arrived and pulled the teen from the pond.
Six officers and two firefighters had to be treated for hypothermia, three of them hospitalized as a result.
With previous reporting by Sergio Bichao