Authorities resumed searching a partially frozen Morris County, N.J., lake for two missing teenagers thought to have fallen through the ice Monday evening.
Both of the teenagers are believed to be boys who attend a high school in the area, officials have said. Their families were notified Monday night that they had been reported missing.
On Tuesday morning, the father of one 15-year-old boy believed to be among the two missing returned to the search scene, staring out at Budd Lake as he sat, helpless, in the passenger seat of a pickup truck.
The father told NBC 4 New York he fears his son is dead. He said his son told him by phone Monday afternoon that he planned to go ride his bike on the lake with a friend, which is something the boy had done before. When he heard helicopters and saw the news reports, the father rushed down to the lake to speak with investigators — but they had nothing concrete to tell him. So he returned Tuesday to wait.
Police have been searching for the boys since several 911 calls came in reporting screams for help coming from the lake in Mount Olive Township shortly before 6:30 p.m. Monday.
One of the 911 callers, William Hardy, lives across the lake with a friend and told NBC 4 New York the two heard cries and went to the lake to investigate.
“We heard some individuals calling for help, saying, ‘Please help us. Please save us, someone help,'” said Hardy.
Hardy ventured onto the ice to locate the voices but could not safely get far enough to reach them.
“I took the flashlight and walked out about 800 feet,” he said. “They’re still another 100 feet in front of me, the ice is cracking. I can see a cell phone, I can still hear them. They’re still talking to me and then the firefighters came.”
Dive and rescue teams from Mount Olive and seven other nearby towns assisted in Monday’s search, said Morris County prosecutor Fred Knapp. They broke through 400 feet of ice in an attempt to reach the spot where the teens were believed to have fallen — about 200 feet from shore — but did not locate them.
Mount Olive Mayor Robert Greenbaum said it was difficult to assess the ice conditions on the lake and noted many people have ventured out on it.
Source: NBC 4 NY