MINE HILL — The bodies of two young men were recovered from Sunset Lake at Mine Hill Beach late Tuesday afternoon, bringing the recent toll from drownings in the state this season to 12.

A group approached members of Morris County EMS at the beach and reported that the 17- and 22-year-olds went into the water at the sand pits and never came out, according to Morris County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Paul Merkler.

Swimming is not permitted at Mine Hill Beach, according to a posted sign.

Rescue off the beach between 8th and 9th Streets in Belmar 6/13/22
Rescue off the beach between 8th and 9th Streets in Belmar 6/13/22 (Emily Grill, Townsquare Media NJ)

Thick weeds slow divers

An intensive search was immediately started with police and fire from Mine Hill and the immediate area. Dive teams joined the search but their efforts were complicated by tangled vegetation below the water surface, according to Merkler.

After several hours, one body was recovered and then the second shortly afterward. Their identities were not disclosed pending notification of family.

The other drownings in New Jersey in June include:


  • Fernando Perez, 24, of Lake Hopatcong, was pulled from the ocean off 8th  Avenue earlier on Monday after falling off the rocks and getting separated from his group.


  • Wildwood police said Williams Pathy, 45, of Hillsdale, was found floating about 100 yards from the beach in the area of Youngs Avenue on June 8. Two swimmers brought him to shore and administered CPR. A second swimmer was rescued from the water and treated by the Wildwood Fire Department.


  • A Pennsylvania man drowned June 7 while swimming off the Syracuse Road beach in Wildwood Crest, according to police. Bystanders administered CPR on Joel Green, 53, of Johnstown, before first responders arrived. He later died at Cape Regional Medical Center.


  • Santos Chacon-Hernandez, 35, of Lakewood, drowned June 6 while trying to swim with two other men across Harry Wright Lake in the Whiting section of Manchester. He was submerged for 15-20 minutes and died early the next morning at a hospital, according to Manchester police.


  • Bayonne brothers Jack Jiang, 16, and Chu Ming Zheng, 19, drowned in a pool at the Lincoln Community School on June 9. The president of the Bayonne Board of Education told NBC 4 New York that the brothers were swimming in a diving pool that was supposed to be closed and unguarded.


  • Alfred Williams, 19, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania drowned off the Andrews Avenue beach in Wildwood on May 31 while swimming with a group of friends. Two others in the group were rescued and one got himself out of the water.



  • Clinten Ajit, 18, of New Milford drowned April 22 when he jumped into Hardcastle Pond trying to get a soccer ball for some kids playing in a park


Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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