N.J. Boy Dies After Falling Through the Ice

By Ted Greenberg and Dan Stamm
|  Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010  |  Updated 12:12 PM EDT
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A memorial sits near the spot where Daniel Licata lost his life.

NBCPhiladelphia - Ted Greenberg, John Marcucci

A memorial sits near the spot where Daniel Licata lost his life.

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A lone glove sat on the ice in Seaside Heights Monday where Daniel Licata lost his life.

Licata, 12,  and an 11-year-old friend were playing on the ice in

Barnegat Bay

Saturday afternoon when they fell through and into the icy waters below.

“The mother says every day she’s waiting for him to come through the door,” said family friend Ronnie Blais. “She goes in the room and touches his toys and cries.”

There was a growing memorial on the shore just yards from where police say Licata and his friend fell through the ice.

“It hurts. It’s a pain inside that you can’t repair,” said family friend Carolyn Therrien.

Authorities initially found out something was wrong from a woman who lives in a nearby house. She saw the two boys out on the ice, looked away for a few moments, and when she looked again, the boys were gone.

She immediately called 911.

Firefighters including William Rumbolo were among the first at the scene. Risking his own life, Rumbolo ventured onto the ice.

He managed to pull the younger boy to safety and rescued a Good Samaritan who had also fallen into the water while trying to rescue the boys.

But, the rescue attempt was too late for Licata. Divers found the boy’s lifeless body in the water a short time later. Doctors at a local hospital were unable to revive him.

“When you see a child and you have children, it hits home,” said Rumbolo.

The 11-year-old, whose name wasn’t made public, left the hospital Sunday night. Physically he was fine, said police. But, emotionally he was devastated.

First responders had a message for anyone thinking of going out onto the ice.

“Parents really got to stress to their kids,” said Asst. Chief Rumbolo. “(Kids) gotta stay off the ice.”

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