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COUSINS DROWN AT SEA BRIGHT

A Red Bank man and his cousin from Sea Bright drowned at Sandy Hook’s Gateway National Park Saturday, and the Red Bank man’s brother was in critical condition after attempting a rescue, the Asbury Park Press and the Star-Ledger reported over the weekend.

The Sledger reports that Miguel Angel Romero-Leon, 30, of Red Bank, died after trying to save Gonzalo Romero-Tlamintzi, 33, of Sea Bright, who also died in the waters off Plum Island, a sandbar on the bay side of the Sandy Hook peninsula. They were taken to Monmouth Medical Center where they were pronounced dead after the 4:30p incident.

Romero-Tlamanintzi’s brother, Martin Romero, 30, of Red Bank, remained in intensive care Sunday after bystanders Bobby James of Woodbridge and Howard Morris of Columbus, Ohio, brought him to safety,  National Park Service spokesman John Warren told the Press.

“I know bystanders performed CPR on him,” Warren said.

First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw Jr. said Romero-Tlamintzi was Romero’s brother.

Neither of the drowned men knew how to swim, according to the reports.

From the Press:

The bayside beaches of Sandy Hook are not protected by lifeguards. Swimming is prohibited off Plum Island, which is connected to Sandy Hook’s main peninsula by a thin isthmus that can flood during high tide. During low tide, two small lagoons are formed.The area is near the mouth of the Shrewsbury River. Strong currents caused by the ebb and flow of tides run through the water there.

From the Press:

The two cousins initially were joined by Romero-Tlamintzi’s wife, Natasha, the only person among the first would-be rescuers who knew how to swim, Warren said. But she had her 2-year-old daughter with her. Soon, the toddler also was struggling with the tide, he said.

“I know her daughter became submerged and was rescued by bystanders,” Warren said.

Romero-Tlamintzi’s wife, his 2-year-old daughter and Romero were hospitalized at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. The wife was kept for evaluations, and the toddler was in stable condition, Warshaw said.

From the Sledger:

Romero-Tlamintzi’s wife, Natasha Tlamintzi, also swam out to help while still holding their 27-month-old daughter, Warren said. She made it back to shore with the child, but collapsed from exhaustion. The two were taken to the hospital.

The family was wading on the bay side, where signs are posted warning beachgoers that there are no lifeguards, Warren said. The water has strong currents and sudden dropoffs.

Warshaw said the victims were in the water “at various levels, form ankle to waist deep.” He said it the water “is particularly dangerous when the tide changes, It’s a posted ‘No Swimming’ area and there are no guards.”

Park Rangers from Gateway, along with emergency crews from Highlands, Sea Bright and Rumson responded.

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