Belmar rip currents leave 13-year-old dead, 12-year-old cousin on life support

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Anthony Johnson has more from Belmar.

A vigil will be held Friday for two girls who were pulled from the water off Belmar, New Jersey Thursday night.

One of the girls, a 13-year-old sixth-grader, died. Her cousin, who is 12 and in fifth grade, is on life support at Jersey Shore Medical Center.

"We had a tough night in Belmar tonight," Mayor Matt Doherty said.

A prayer service is scheduled for Friday at 1:30 p.m. at St. Rose Catholic Church.

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The borough's lifeguards were to begin full-time staffing of the beaches Monday, once school let out for the summer and students were available to work as lifeguards, Doherty said. Several were on the beach Thursday, although they had left by the time the girls went into the water.

In the wake of the incident, however, Doherty said they will be on duty Friday.
WABC-TV reports, the two girls had no adults with them, and the Coast Guard pulled them from the water around 6:30 p.m. after a search effort. They were found floating face down.

The victims are both students at Belmar Elementary School, where grief counselors were on hand Friday for the last day of classes.

"They're just sweet girls who are willing to help other children," Belmar schools Superintendent David R. Hallman said. "So it's just a difficult time right now."

The school just completed a water safety course last week, warning students about potential risks familiar to the popular seaside resort, the mayor said.

"Twelve-year-olds and 13-year-olds go to the beach in Belmar all the time," Doherty said. "It's why we live here."

The girls' names have not been released.

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