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Fundraiser started for family of teens who drowned in Bayonne pool

The 19-year-old and 16-year-old brothers drowned at the Lincoln Community School pool

Chu Ming Zheng and Jack Jiang. Photo courtesy of Eliass Nid-Youssef.

A GoFundMe fundraiser webpage has been started to help support the family of the two teenage brothers who recently drowned at the Lincoln Community School pool.

The brothers, 19-year-old Chu Ming Zheng and 16-year-old Jack Jiang, were pronounced dead by authorities on the evening of June 8. Jiang was a junior at Bayonne High School and Chu Ming Zheng was an alumni who recently graduated.

GoFundMe aims to help family

The fundraiser was started by Chu Ming’s best friend and neighbor Eliass Nid-Youssef.

“On June 8, 2022 we all lost two brothers who are very dear to us and hold a special place in our hearts and forever will,” Nid-Youssef wrote. “They left this world and left their two loving parents and their 11 year old sister. Many of us loved these two boys and they both loved us. The memories we have of them will never be enough to match the energy that they brought into a room and the way they lit up a room every time they entered one.”

Nid-Youssef is asking for donations to help the family with funeral costs and other associated expenses.

“I write this and create this page as Chu Ming’s best friend and neighbor to ask you, the people who they loved and the people who loved them, to please help us in trying to support Chu Ming and Jack’s family in this time that they are facing by raising some money to help cover the funeral service and for any other expenses the family deems right,” Nid-Youssef continued. “I plan to take all the money raised and hand it to the family as a check so they can spend it however their hearts desire whether that be funeral service, bills, etc.”

Donate online at: gofundme.com/f/chu-ming-jacks-family?qid=16e0222b1fedc4ca38f024f0bc38eb39. As of June 13, $22,441 from 363 donations has been raised out of the $25,000 goal.

The community has undoubtedly shown an outpouring of support since the fundraiser was established on June 10. In addition to the fundraiser, gift card donations for the family were accepted at the Korpi Ice Rink up until June 13.

Multiple investigations underway

Mayor James Davis offered his condolences on the deaths of the brothers on the night of their passing.

“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.”

Following that, in his weekly COVID-19 video update on June 9, Davis said  investigations into the “unspeakable tragedy” were underway.

“We are all numb as we try to process this tragedy,” Davis said. “I ask that everyone please say a prayer for our neighbors who are suffering so much at this time. I spent time at the emergency room last night and spoke to our police chief who is leading the investigation into what happened. Please be patient as the police and the Board of Education investigate exactly what occurred.”

In addition to the Bayonne Police Department, the Bayonne Board of Education as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as the school district insurance carrier, according to Superintendent of Schools John Niesz.

“This is an active investigation at this time,” Niesz said in a letter to the community. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and to all of our community.”

Details continue to emerge

Many questions remain regarding the incident which occurred when the pool is regularly open to the public during after school hours. The pool is now closed until further notice and crisis counselors and guidance counselors will be available for students in the wake of the boys’ deaths.

With three lifeguards on duty at the time of the drowning, many questions still remain as to how the tragedy was allowed to occur. According to NBC News, the teenagers allegedly drowned in a secondary pool intended for diving which was apparently closed at the time.

Lifeguards pulled both teens from the pool and began life-saving measures until authorities arrived. EMS, police, and firefighters immediately responded to the scene and also administered CPR before transporting the boys to the hospital, but brothers were declared dead at Bayonne Medical Center.

A third sibling, their sister who is in the fourth grade at Horace Mann Community School, was present at the pool during the incident, but was not involved, according to police. Additional details to continue to emerge in the wake of the tragedy at the Lincoln Community School pool.

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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