A 16-year-old Cape May rookie lifeguard who was seriously injured Thursday while patrolling at sea has died, the town of Jersey Shore said Saturday morning.
Norman V. Inferella III, 16, of Phoenixville, was rowing a lifeguard boat off Redding Avenue Beach when a wave overturned it and rolled it over. Inferrera lost consciousness, according to a statement from city manager Michael Voll.
Lifeguards responded immediately to help him, Vol said. was resuscitated twice and airlifted to Cooper University Hospital.
She announced his death on the page Saturday morning.
“Last night the Lord called home my beautiful nephew Norman. Sending love and blessings to
Contributions to this page exceeded $85,000 by late Saturday morning.
In an interview Saturday, Voll said Cape May has never lost a lifeguard to an on-the-job injury.
In a statement for the town, Mayor Zachary Malloch said, “Even at such a young age, Norman was loved by his fellow lifeguards.” “Norman chose to protect others. He did so professionally and worked hard. That’s the extraordinary quality of anyone, especially a 16-year-old.”
Cape May Beach Patrol chief Harry Buck called Inferella “a beloved member of our Beach Patrol family” and recalled the “constant smile” on the young man’s face.
Voll urged us to reach out to community members in need of help in processing Inferrera’s tragic death.
“While we collectively mourn the passing of this bright light from our world too soon, we reach out to our support systems and seek counseling for those who need a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. It’s a reminder and encouragement,” Vol said, adding that grief counselors are available to all Beach Patrol staff.
While Cape May was grieving, lifeguards from other towns helped out. There are about 70 lifeguards in town, but about 40 are currently active and some have left to go back to school, he said.
Inferera had just been hired for the season after passing a “rigorous” test, the city manager said.
“He always wanted to be a lifeguard. This was his dream come true,” said Vol.
With Hurricane Henri expected to create dangerous rip currents along the Jersey Shore on Saturday and Sunday, Vol said lifeguards at Cape May, already reeling from Inferella’s death, said they will be on the move this weekend. “I’m physically and emotionally exhausted,” he said.