TRENTON — Belmar and Atlantic City are 75 miles apart on the Parkway but the pain and sadness in both communities were the same this weekend.

A 12-year-old named Emily remained on life support Saturday after she was pulled from the strong surf off Belmar between 9th and 11th Avenues on Thursday night. A second girl, identified as her 13-year-old cousin, Mitzi Hernandez, died at Jersey Shore Medical Center.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the cause and circumstances of the incident. The beach, which Belmar promotes as always being open, was unguarded when the girls went into the water.

Over $10,000 had been donated as of Saturday morning to a GoFundMe page called "Belmar's Angels" created by  Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty.

"We are taking $20,000 from our Mayor's Ball account to start it and hoping to raise another $20K from the public for a total of $40K to donate to both families," Doherty told New Jersey 101.5.

Police in Atlantic City, meanwhile, continued the search on Saturday for the bodies of Kaliy-ah Hand, 16, of Atlantic City, and Ramon Quinn, 15, of Pleasantville. Quinn ran into the water to rescue his friend when she got caught in a rip current early Thursday evening. Police said they were both pulled under by the strong rip current.

Both families have taken up a vigil on the beach waiting for word, according to the Press of Atlantic City

"We'll keep going until we find these young kids," Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey told the newspaper.

The rip currents have been strong all week along the Jersey Shore. The risk was increased to high on Saturday by the National Weather Service, meaning dangerous and potentially life threatening conditions exist for all people entering the surf.

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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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