2 teens dead, 3 others hurt after falling through ice in separate incidents in New Jersey

CARTERET, New Jersey (WABC) -- Two teens were killed and three others injured when they fell through icy ponds in two separate incidents in New Jersey Wednesday, prompting a stern warning to stay off seemingly frozen bodies of water.

Despite a sign that reads "Danger: Stay off the ice," two teens fell into the icy pond at Carteret Avenue and Cypress Street.

According to a statement from the Carteret Fire Department, they rescued one teen but were "unsuccessful" in rescuing the second.

They eventually removed him, and 15-year-old David Tillburg was pronounced dead at Newark's University Hospital.

"I have a picture of him on my phone," the victim's Aunt Nicole said. "And you see how perfect his smile is? How can we live without his smile, you know?"

She said the family is in a state of shock after learning of her nephew's death. Tillburg was a student at Carteret High School and the oldest of six kids.

"David was perfect, you know?" she said. "He was just a quiet kid, shy and he was goofy. He was funny. He was just starting to break out of his shell."

She said he posted a chilling final photo to SnapChat, smiling on the ice with a friend, just moments before the fatal fall.

"Just being a kid, having fun," Nicole said.

His family has started a GoFundMe to help cover his funeral services.


In an unrelated incident, three teens fell through the ice in East Brunswick right outside the town's municipal complex.

Sources say the kids were playing on the pond near Civic Center Drive around 5 p.m. Wednesday when the ice broke. Two of the 13-year-old boys were able to get themselves out, but one of the teens became trapped and died.

Paramedics formed a human chain to try to save him and performed CPR when he was pulled from the water.

He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The child was identified as Yousef Khela, an eighth grader at Churchill Junior High School. Grief counselors are available for students there.

"This is an absolute sad tragic situation for everyone involved. for the victim, the officers that responded," East Brunswick Police Chief Frank LoSacco said. "They sacrificed themselves willingly and ran right in full equipment and did the best they could given the circumstances."

Six officers and two firefighters were treated for hypothermia.

A wake will be held for Khela on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church at 433 Riva Avenue in East Brunswick. Funeral services will be held at the church at 10 a.m. on Friday

----------
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.