New Jersey

New Jersey Brothers Drown While Fishing in South Jersey Lake

Two brothers who were fishing drowned in a South Jersey lake Wednesday night after one had trouble swimming and the other tried to save him, officials said.

“They were close. They were really close,” Danny Cabrera, a friend of the victims, told NBC10.

The bodies of the two brothers, identified as 30-year-old Otoniel Bautista-Vargas and 27-year-old Saul Bautista-Vargas, were pulled from Crystal Lake near Delsea Drive and Elmer Road in Vineland Wednesday night after another fisherman spotted something about 10 feet down, officials with the Downe Township Fire/Rescue dive team said.

Swimming isn't allowed in the lake, one of many former quarries scattered across South Jersey.

"You may be in a foot of water and one or two steps you can be in 30, 40 feet of water," Chief Cliff Higbee, Sr., of the Downe Township Fire/Rescue Dive Team, said. "They're very dangerous. They're not a safe place to swim.” 

No foul play was suspected.

Correction: This story initially incorrectly named the Downe Township Fire/Rescue dive team.

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