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Teenage brothers drown at Lincoln Community School pool in Bayonne

This happened despite three lifeguards on duty

Lincoln Community School is located on Prospect Avenue between East 29th and East 30th Streets. Image via Google Maps.

Two teenage brothers have drowned at the Lincoln Community School pool on June 8, according to the Bayonne Police Department, and an investigation is underway.

According to Police Captain Eric Amato, at 8:23 p.m., the Bayonne Police Department was notified of two individuals, a 16 year old male and a 19 year old male, who had just been removed from the pool at Lincoln Community School and were not breathing. According to witnesses and the three lifeguards on duty, the two victims were observed to be in distress in the deep end of the pool.

As a lifeguard approached the deep end, he observed the two victims unable to resurface and entered the pool with the other two lifeguards. The three lifeguards were able to remove both victims from the pool and immediately began life-saving measures as the 9-1-1 call was placed.

Officers immediately responded and were directed to the two victims of an apparent drowning who were receiving life saving measures (CPR) from lifeguards. The officers immediately assisted in rendering CPR and other life-saving measures.

Soon after, firefighters of the Bayonne Fire Department and McCabe Ambulance EMTs responded and also assisted with life-saving measures and patient care. The two victims, later determined to be brothers and residents of Bayonne, were transported to the Bayonne Medical Center.

Tragedy at the school pool

At the hospital, the two brothers were pronounced dead after further life-saving efforts were unsuccessful. The names of the victims were not released by police.

In a subsequent release, Amato added that a younger sibling was present at the pool but was not involved in the drowning or ever in distress.

And in regards to further information being released by the BPD, Amato said: “At this time, the below additional information is all the Bayonne Police Department (BPD) will comment on, as it remains under investigation. Any requests for additional information need to be directed to the Bayonne Board of Education. This includes the possibility of a press conference or interview.”

According to Amato, the 9-1-1 call was received by the Bayonne Police Department at 8:23 p.m. Officers were dispatched at 8:24 p.m. and were on scene at 8:25 p.m. For the privacy of the family and the “tender ages of those involved and present, the names of the victims will not be released by the BPD,” he said.

City mourns tragic loss

Mayor James Davis offered his condolences on the deaths of the brothers on the night of June 8.

“The City of Bayonne is in mourning tonight, as we learn of the passing of two teenage brothers, who drowned this evening at our Lincoln Community School Pool,” Davis said. “I ask that we all respect the privacy of the family, as they deal with this unspeakable tragedy. We all pray for comfort for our neighbors.”

Superintendent of Schools John Niesz said additional crisis counselors and guidance counselors will be on hand on June 9 at all schools. He added the pool at Lincoln Community School will be closed to all activities until further notice.

“Unfortunately, I have very sad news to share with our community in reference to a pool incident at Lincoln Community School pool,” Niesz said. “This evening, two brothers, one a recent graduate of Bayonne High School and the other a current Bayonne High School junior, have passed away…This is an active investigation at this time being conducted by the Bayonne Police Department… Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and to all of our community.”

More information available

On June 9, Niesz noted that the district was accepting gift card donations for the family: “I have spoken to the family and, with their blessing, we would like to start a fundraiser on behalf of the Zheng and Jiang family. While we will continue to respect the family’s privacy, we are accepting gift card donations to help the family.”

Gift cards were accepted at the Korpi Ice Rink on June 10, 11, 12 and 13. The incident remains under investigation by the Bayonne Police Department, and other investigations have been opened, according to Niesz.

“Investigations and reports are also being conducted by the school district, school insurance carrier, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),” Niesz said. “I would also like to advise our community that the Bayonne School District will immediately commission an independent investigation into this incident. I would like to commend our staff, first responders and administration who were present last evening for their efforts in trying to save Mr. Zheng and Mr. Jiang.”

The brothers were later identified as Chu Ming Zheng and Jack Jiang. And according to NBC News, they apparently drowned in a secondary pool meant for diving, as opposed to the main pool. More information continues to come to light in the days following the tragedy at Lincoln Community School, as investigations probe the deaths of the two teens.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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