By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
CAPE MAY, N.J. — Both the state of New Jersey and the city of Cape May have taken steps to honor a lifeguard who passed away in the line of duty.
On Friday, all U.S. and New Jersey flags in the state will fly at half-staff to remember the life of 16-year-old Cape May Beach Patrol lifeguard Norman Inferrera III. Inferrera died last Friday after his patrol boat capsized in the ocean. The city will also rename the Reading Avenue beach after the 16-year-old lifeguard, who was a junior at Phoenixville Area High School.
While conducting a routine lifeguard patrol route, the rookie lifeguard hit his head on his patrol boat shortly after it was broadsided by rough surf. The accident left Inferrera unconscious, and he had to be resuscitated twice before being airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden. He died at the hospital later Friday night.
“My heart, prayers, and condolences go out to the Inferrera family,” Cape May mayor Zachary Mullock said in a statement last Saturday. “Even at such a young age, Norman was loved by his fellow lifeguards. No words can express the sadness suffered by all of our Beach Patrol family.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Inferrera family. He was a beloved member of our Beach Patrol family,” Cape May Beach Patrol Chief Harry Back added. “Norman had a permanent smile on his face and was living out his dream to be a lifeguard.”
Inferrera’s family started a GoFundMe fundraiser shortly after his accident. The page was initially created to help the family cover his medical costs, but it’s since raised more than $175,000. According to Philly Voice, the family now plans on using the money to establish a scholarship for students at Phoenixville Area High School and others within the Cape May Beach Patrol.
The 16-year-old’s classmates gathered Sunday night for a vigil to remember his life. Phoenixville Area High School also made counselors available to any students who needed them following Inferrera’s death.
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