Man who drowned at Jersey Shore remembered as caring father, fiance

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Man who drowned at Jersey Shore remembered as caring father, fiance
Man who drowned at Jersey Shore remembered as caring father, fiance

STRATHMERE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A father who was pulled from the ocean in Strathmere, New Jersey on Monday has died, authorities said.

The family identified the victim as 42-year-old Mark Costin of Vineland.

Costin's fiancé, Melissa Metcalf, said they planned a last-minute trip to the beach in Cape May County on Labor Day.

They brought Metcalf's three children, Logan, Riley and Reagan Gallagher, as well as one of her son's girlfriends. They also brought Costin's daughter, Jocelyn.

Metcalf stayed on the shore as Mark Costin went into the ocean with 12-year-old Reagan and 13-year-old Jocelyn.

"He was playing on the boogie board. He was diving in, swimming like a little fish," Jocelyn told Action News.

Reagan said as they were playing, she got caught in a rip current.

"I could slowly feel myself going out," Reagan explained. "And I was trying to tell him I was drifting out. He thought I was joking at first until he realized I wasn't."

Reagan said Costin jumped into action and tried to help her.

"He had hold of my waist. He was trying to get us both out. But then he realized he couldn't."

Reagan said the next thing she knew, Costin floated away.

A nearby surfer rescued her. About 15 minutes later, the Upper Township Beach Patrol said it pulled Costin to the shore.

Beach patrol members administered CPR and rushed Costin to the hospital, where he later died.

Metcalf, who was in the midst of planning her future with Costin, described him as a spiritual health-guru, who loved to garden in the backyard.

She said he was a goofball who passionately cared for the people in his life.

"He was getting everybody right. His mission was to make sure everybody was right," Metcalf said. "It's just his energy, everything about him. It's quiet now."

"I look at everybody and I see a piece of him in everybody because he was always helping everybody out," Jocelyn said of her father. "So, he's still here with us."

Costin's family said his life was defined by saving others.

They said he was a medic in the National Guard, and in his final moments, he did everything he could to save his stepdaughter.

"In the end, he went out helping someone live," Logan Gallagher said. "Reagan's going to go on to be her best possible self. I'm glad he was there."

Riley Gallagher told Action News, "The fact that my little sister is still here is because of him. Looking at her is seeing the man who helped raise me and who helped save all of our lives. He was a hero and I'm always going to remember him."

The family has started a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.