Dive teams deployed at Mine Hill Beach recovered the bodies of two young men who drowned in Sunset Lake Tuesday, authorities confirmed.
The victims, identified as males ages 17 and 22, “went into the water at the sand pits and never came out,” a Morris County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson stated.
Witnesses at the scene at 5:23 p.m. approached Morris County EMS personnel who happened to be at Mine Hill Beach at the time asking for help, the spokesperson said. Mine Hill Beach is bordered by a large forested area known as the Rutgers Tract.
Morris County OEM Director Jeffrey Paul said the EMS crew was posted there to “cover the area.”
An “intensive search” continued after dark and was complicated due to tangled vegetation below the water surface, but the bodies were eventually recovered before midnight.
Additional identifying information is pending further investigation and notification to family members, the spokesperson said.
At 7 p.m., Mine Hill Mayor Sam Morris said responders were staging their search-and-rescue efforts at Mine Hill Beach, a municipal facility on the lake, which borders several towns.
“They are definitely missing, and they are searching for them now,” Morris said.
Morris said the two victims were believed to have entered the water “on the Roxbury side” near a spillway where the lake crosses into Roxbury and Randolph.
“The state police had a helicopter here earlier really low over the water, trying to see anything,” Morris said.
At 7:30 p.m., dive teams from the Parsippany Rescue and Recovery Unit, Wallington and Lyndhurst were on the lake conducting searches.
The initial response also included the Wharton, Roxbury and Randolph police departments, Mine Hill Fire Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Unit, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Morris County OEM.
Also assisting in the search were the Roxbury, Picatinny, Boonton, Rockaway and East Hanover fire departments, East Hanover police, Bergen County Search and Rescue, Saint Clare’s EMS, Rockaway First Aid, Ringwood Fire Department/Dive Team, Mahwah Fire Department/Dive Team, Wykoff Fire Department/Dive Team and Oradell Fire Department/Dive Team.
Check back for updates to this breaking news story.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.