2000-07-08 / Front Page

Boy Drowns In Bay

By Joan Ward George

Just six days after a mother and her six year old daughter drowned in the rough waters near Beach 17 street and Seagirt boulevard, an 11 year old boy’s life was cut short when he was caught in an undertow while swimming in Norton Basin on the Jamaica Bay side of the peninsula.

Russell Joseph, of St. Albans, along with his friend, Jonathan Fortuna, also 11, were reported to be screaming for help at about 2 p.m. Friday, June 30, by other swimmers spending the day at a "swim-at-your-own risk" area, located near Nortin drive and Bayswater avenue, where no lifeguards are stationed.

According to witnesses, Fortuna was able to break free from the undertow and swim to the shore. Joseph went under. Divers dispatched to the scene pulled him from the water and administered CPR. He was transported to Peninsula Hospital Center and then transferred via medical helicopter to North Shore University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:05 p.m.

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