Clinton Township, NJ (Hunterdon) – Just prior to 4pm Tuesday June 29th, South Branch Emergency Services was alerted to respond to the Round Valley Recreation Area to meet with the State Lifeguards to check out a juvenile swimmer who had been pulled from the swimming area and was ill.
Upon arrival of our first Ambulance five minutes after dispatch, lifeguard in charge Tiffany Osti, who happens to also be a volunteer here at South Branch, met with the EMT’s and advised that 2 juveniles had been rescued by family, fellow swimmers and NJ State Parks Lifeguards after falling off a sandbar in the swimming area.
While crews were evaluating those involved, they were notified by NJ State Parks Lifeguards that there was a potential additional victim that had not been seen coming out of the water. They initiated their missing person protocols, and a call was made for additional Ambulances and our Water Rescue team to respond.
Water Rescue 365, Utility 365, Marine units 2, 3 & 4 responded and command was established on the Beach by SBES Chief Frank Setnicky. “Upon our arrival, the lifeguards were actively doing surface dives and searches of the entire swimming area” he stated of the initial response. He added, “Our marine units they were deployed to start doing surface searches with rescue swimmers and rescue boats”.
Due to the nature of the call, our Incident Commander requested the Lambertville Fire
Department Dive Rescue Team, who responded with 6 divers, 2 tenders and support staff.
Also requested was our REHAB unit due to the excessive heat, and additional support staff.
NJ State Police Aviation Unit, known as NorthStar, was called to assist in the search of the
swimming area from above. After several high level and low searches, they were unable to spot any items of interest.
LFD divers and tenders suited up and were transported to the "point last seen" by SBES boats. The divers then performed tethered searches of the bottom in water with about 3-6 feet of visibility in depths ranging from 8 to 21 feet. The search area was expanded as divers were rotated. The LFD divers performed 80 minutes of searching, also with negative results.
As per protocol, NJ State Police Marine Unit out of Carteret was contacted and requested to respond to the scene. They arrived as subsequent searches yield no findings, and investigations by the NJ State Parks Police who were on scene yielded no additional reports of missing persons.
Twenty four South Branch Emergency Services personnel responded to this incident over the course of the 3 hours search.
The search was cancelled by 7pm, with units clearing up over the next half hour.