TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on Friday, August 27, 2021 to honor Cape May Beach Patrol Lifeguard Norman V. Inferrera III, who passed away at the age of 16 following a tragic accident while on-duty.
“Norman’s passing at such a young age is a devastating loss for his family, the Cape May community, and our state,” said Governor Murphy. “As a lifeguard, Norman took on a special responsibility to help others and that is what he was doing when he was tragically fatally injured. We will forever be grateful to him for his selfless service to the people of Cape May. Tammy and I would like to express our sincere condolences to Norman’s family and friends during this tremendously difficult time.”
CAPE MAY, NJ (CAPE MAY)–It is with great sadness that the City of Cape May announces the passing of Lifeguard Norman V. Inferrera III.
Inferrera was involved in an incident which occurred off our Reading Avenue Beach on August 19, 2021. Based on current information, while rowing a lifeguard boat in the ocean, the boat was broadsided by a wave and flipped over. Inferrera was knocked unconscious. Fellow lifeguards responded immediately to his aid.
“My heart, prayers, and condolences go out to the Inferrera family”, said Mayor Zachary Mullock. “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. Norman chose to protect others. He did so professionally and worked hard at it. That is an extraordinary attribute for anyone, especially at 16 years old. The Cape May community cares so deeply for those who protect us. I know this entire community is going to do anything it can for Norman’s family and friends.”
Cape May Beach Patrol Chief Harry Back expressed his condolences. “My thoughts and prayers are with the Inferrera family. He was a beloved member of our Beach Patrol family. Norman had a permanent smile on his face and was living out his dream to be a lifeguard.”
City Manager Mike Voll said, “Chief Back and the entire Beach Patrol have shown the utmost professionalism, while simultaneously providing care to all those touched so deeply by Norman. I want to thank all of the Beach Patrols who gave their valuable assets and gave our Patrol help in this time of need.”
As we collectively grieve the passing of this bright light from our world, far too soon, we remind and encourage those needing an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on, to reach out to their support system and seek counseling. The City & Chief Back immediately provided grief counselors for all Beach Patrol staff. Those who may have already returned to their winter locales are always members of our Cape May family, and we stand ready to wrap our arms around all who need it.
“The Lord called my beautiful nephew Norman home last night. The family is overwhelmed with sorrow. The bright light in this tragedy is the support and prayers that have been pouring in. We send love and blessings to each and every one of you.
Thank you for the continued acts of kindness as the hospital bills are going to be astronomical.” –Kathleen Inferrera Price
CAPE MAY, NJ (CAPE MAY)–The City of Cape May released a statement today about an accident involving a lifeguard yesterday. See statement below:
The City of Cape May wishes to extend our thoughts and prayers for one of the members of our Beach Patrol and his family. An incident occurred off our Reading Avenue Beach on August 19, 2021, leaving one of our lifeguards in critical condition.
Based on current information, while rowing a lifeguard boat in the ocean, the boat was broadsided by a wave and flipped over. The guard was knocked unconscious. Fellow lifeguards responded immediately to his aid. Out of respect for the family’s wishes, no other information is available at this time.
The positive impact he has had on our beach patrol is evident based on the large outpouring of love and support from his fellow guards and the Cape May community. The City of Cape May would like to thank the quick actions of the Cape May Beach Patrol, Chief Harry Back, and all first responders. The City would also like to send our deepest gratitude to all South Jersey Beach Patrols who have sent their lifeguards to the City to assist.
CAPE MAY, N.J. – On Wednesday July 28, 2021, The Coast Guard medevaced a diver 46 miles east of Cape May on Wednesday.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay command center received a report via VHF channel 16 that a 50-year-old woman was unresponsive after returning from a dive off the dive vessel Gypsie Blood. The diver dove to a depth of 150- feet before resurfacing unconscious.
Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City to the scene.
The aircrew medically evacuated the woman and transported her to the closest decompression chamber available at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“Without the proper communication that we had, we would not have been able to safely conduct the mission especially considering the distance offshore that the vessel was,” said Lt. Anthony Barletta, the command duty officer in the command center. “A marine band radio is the best way to get first responders on scene when an emergency arises.”
CAPE MAY, N.J. — The Coast Guard rescued seven people from a sport fishing boat beset by weather 69 miles southeast of Cape May Sunday.
A small craft advisory for the area indicated 4-to-6-foot seas with winds gusting up to 30 knots.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay received the initial report from Coast Guard Sector Virginia at 1:19 p.m., stating that a 40-foot sport fishing boat with seven people aboard had been beset by weather with seas reaching approximately 10 feet.
The crew of the vessel activated their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) when conditions continued to deteriorate. Coast Guard crews aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Station Indian River were launched to assist.
All seven people were hoisted and taken to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City where local EMS was standing by to assist.
“One of the scariest and most unpredictable places you can be is out on the water in a storm,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Petrenko, an operations specialist with the Sector Delaware Bay command center. “Fortunately, they had life jackets, a registered EPIRB and a radio, which they used to call for help. If any one of those pieces had been missing, we might not have been as successful as we were.”
CAPE MAY, NJ (CAPE MAY)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (A3201), which designates the Howell House on Lafayette Street in Cape May, New Jersey as the official New Jersey Harriet Tubman Museum. The Governor participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the museum. The Howell House is owned by the Macedonia Baptist Church. In 2018, the church gave Robert, Zach, and Cynthia Mullock permission to renovate the house into a museum honoring Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman has a special connection to Cape May, having spent a significant amount of time during the 1850s in the area, gathering funds to support her work through the Underground Railroad. The museum will inform current and future generations of the great sacrifices and efforts that Tubman made on her mission to save enslaved African-Americans and bring them to the free North. The museum opened virtually on June 19, 2020, a date recognized as “Juneteenth” and recently designated an official State holiday in New Jersey.
“It gives me great pride in announcing that the Howell House in Cape May is now the official Harriet Tubman Museum of New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “Harriett Tubman’s extraordinary efforts helped establish and run the Underground Railroad, and her fearless actions during her lifetime led to the freedom of many. I am proud of the role that New Jersey and Cape May were able to play in her mission to free Black men, women, and children from slavery. This is just one small step in acknowledging the plight and struggle of the Black community, and we will continue to recognize and fight against all forms of racism.”
“Harriet Tubman was arguably the most well-known activist and abolitionist in US history. Her intellect, determination and iron will saved the lives of many enslaved Americans. She is our North Star. When we fight for equality, we think of her name,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “This museum, which is dedicated to her legacy, will now officially ensure that her name will forever be revered and honored in New Jersey history.”
“Our work here in Cape May for the last two years has been dedicated to preserving and creating a space worthy of magnifying Harriet Tubman’s life, and the life of so many luminaries who worked with her or followed in her footsteps in the struggle for racial and social justice.” said Cynthia Mullock, Executive Director of the Harriet Tubman Museum. “Among our many supporters was the Murphy administration. In particular, we want to thank Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, Secretary of State Tahesha Way, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey State Historical Commission, and the grant programs through the Cape May County Department of Tourism, as well as the State’s neighborhood preservation program.
Primary sponsors of A3201 include Assemblymembers Carol A. Murphy, Gordon M. Johnson, and Antwan L. McClellan, and Senators Ronald L. Rice, Michael L. Testa, and Shirley K. Turner.
“Harriet Tubman was a hero who not only freed herself, but returned to the South over a dozen times to lead at least 70 other slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Despite personal health problems and the threat of enslavement or death if caught, she courageously risked her own life in order to rescue others from slavery,” said Assemblywoman Carol Murphy and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson in a joint statement. “It is a source of pride for our state that such an inspirational figure spent time in Cape May, earning money to support her Underground Railroad operations. Cape May is further connected to these historical efforts with countless escaped slaves having passed through the town on their way to freedom and the area having served as a center of abolitionist activity. This museum will honor her legacy and recognize our state’s connection to an important movement, while simultaneously preserving this historic building. It’s only fitting that we recognize Howell House as the official New Jersey Harriet Tubman Museum.”
“I am excited and proud that Harriet Tubman is being honored and that there is a dedicated place here in New Jersey where people can go to learn more about this extraordinary woman who truly is an American hero”, said Assemblyman Antwan McClellan. “The more we learn about the Underground Railroad and the dangers faced, the more we understand the heroic, brave actions of the men and women who worked to abolish slavery.”
“Harriet Tubman was fiercely committed to equality for all people, black or white, male or female,” said Senator Michael Testa. “Through her tireless persistence, this determined woman helped bring about two historic society advancements that changed American society forever – she personally helped lead dozens of southern slaves to freedom in the north, and she was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement.”
“Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist, a hero and a conductor of the Underground Railroad that ran through New Jersey. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this recognition. Ever since they began renovating the Howell House, there has been mounting excitement around the new museum, even being highlighted as one of the most anticipated museum openings of 2020 by the Smithsonian Magazine,” said Senator Shirley Turner. “On the date of their opening, the formal designation is a small token of our gratitude for the work their team has done to memorialize Harriet’s time in New Jersey, and educate us on its significance.”