Mark Batista, a 15-year veteran firefighter with the Fire Department of New York, was assigned to Engine Company 226 in Brooklyn, according to a statement released by the FDNY.
“We are heartbroken to learn about the death of Firefighter Mark Batista, who died Friday while swimming at the Jersey Shore,” the statement reads. He was “a dedicated public servant who spent fifteen years serving in the FDNY, as both an EMT and a firefighter. We join his family in mourning his tragic passing.”
Around 8:35 a.m., police responded to reports of two swimmers in distress at Sylvania Avenue Beach in Avon, according to police. At the scene, officers and members of the water rescue team got into the water and began searching for victims.
Ten minutes later, rescue swimmers found a female juvenile in distress and successfully got her out of the water, police said. She was taken to the hospital by first aid members. She was expected to recover, NBC New York reported.
Around 10 a.m., a second victim, later identified as Batista, a 39-year-old from Teaneck, New Jersey, was found submerged and brought to the shore where lifesaving efforts began, police said. He was then taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
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A sign on the boardwalk at Sylvania Avenue Beach indicated that lifeguards were off duty and the beach was unprotected.
There was a low rip current risk Friday morning, according to Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service at Mount Holly.
Asbury Park Press Staff Writer Kenneth Serrano contributed to this story.