Clyde Schimanski Jr., right, gets a hug from a friend as a recovery effort… (Bob Karp / The Daily Record )
NEW YORK -- The body of a teenage boy who walked onto a partially frozen New Jersey lake with his friend was pulled from the frigid waters Tuesday afternoon, a day after the pair apparently fell through ice that cracked during a spell of unusually warm weather.
Recovery workers were still searching for the second boy in Budd Lake, where the two -- one 14 years old and the other 15 -- were last seen on Monday evening. The lake is in Mount Olive Township, about 50 miles west of New York City. People who live near the lake reported hearing cries for help and heading onto the ice to investigate.
William Hardy, who lives beside the water, said he called police after hearing a scream, then grabbed a flashlight and began walking toward the sounds. After a few hundred feet, he had to stop because the ice was giving way beneath him, Hardy told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “Please help me, I don’t want to die,” he quoted one of the victims as hollering as he waved what appeared to be a cell phone with a tiny light on it.
Rescue workers began breaking up the ice as they tried to push a small boat closer to the pair, but Hardy said the voices stopped before the boat could reach the area where the boys had been plunged into the water.
The search continued into the night, then resumed Tuesday morning. At about 3:30 p.m., the Mount Olive mayor, Rob Greenbaum, confirmed that one body had been found.
"The State Police dive team recovered one of our lost youth. I am hopeful for the second family that we can bring some closure to this tragic event shortly," Greenbaum wrote on his Facebook page. A few hours later, however, the search for the second boy was called off for the night. It was to resume Wednesday morning.
Officials did not release the missing teens' names, but the father of one local youth told reporters his son was one of them. Clyde Schimanski Jr., whose son is Clyde Schimanski III, had tears in his eyes as he spoke of his son while sitting in his truck at the search site.
"He was a very well-mannered child," Schimanski said. "I should've went before him."
Schimanski said some witnesses had told him that his son fell through the ice as he tried to help his friend, who had fallen in first. Lynn O'Brien, a friend of the Schimanskis, said she had warned the younger Schimanski and other teens not to walk on the lake. "I’m really shocked they went across like this. I told them, I told them a million times don’t go on the ice," she said.
Budd Lake is New Jersey's largest natural lake and ranges in depth from about 7 to 12 feet. The weather in the area Monday was sunny and in the mid-40s, several degrees warmer than usual for this time of year.
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