A 48-year-old Wildwood man drowned in Lake Nummy, Dennis Township, New Jersey Tuesday night despite a stranger's efforts to save him.
Manuel Osorio was swimming alone in the Cape May County lake, which is part of Belleplain State Forest. Jonathan Stauffer and his fiance had just come into the park to check out some of the campsites. It was about 6 p.m. and Stauffer's fiance noticed that Osorio, who was swimming beyond the area marked off for swimming by buoys, had gone under water.
Stauffer acted on impulse. "I swam over to the area where he was and she was screaming to me the whole time, 'Go under! Go under water!"
It was dark, murky and the bottom of the lake was thick with mud, Stauffer said. He couldn't see much but on the third attempt, his feet hit Osario's arms and he was able to pull him up.
Stauffer estimates that Osorio had been under water for about than a minute but his body was limp as he swam it back over to an area of the water where there frantic family members -- who could not swim -- were in the water. Stauffer, who was exhausted, gave Osorio's body to the family, but they weren't able to hold on to him and he slipped back under water.
"I freaked out. I started screaming. I started back in the water and that's when the police came," Stauffer said.
Rescue and dive crews had arrived by that time and after searching for more than two hours, recovered Osorio's body. A medical examiner pronounced him dead at the scene.
Lake Nummy is about 26 acres and 10 feet deep in most areas with very dark water.
Signs were posted on Tuesday stating that no swimming was allowed at the beach. No lifeguards were on duty.