Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Family seeks shutdown of beach where man drowned

The family of a Pennsylvania man who drowned at the ocean when the sand allegedly gave way beneath his feet in 2012 has sued to seek the closure of that part of the beach.

A beach in North Wildwood
A beach in North Wildwood (Google Street View)

Sandra Smith of Horsham, Pennsylvania, filed suit Wednesday in state Superior Court against North Wildwood, Cape May County and the state of New Jersey over the July 2012 incident that claimed the life of her husband, Brad, and nearly killed their 7-year-old daughter.

According to the lawsuit, Brad Smith was walking with his daughter, another man and that man’s daughter in ankle-deep water near the Hereford Inlet in North Wildwood when the sand gave way beneath their feet, sweeping them out to sea. A passerby on a personal watercraft rescued the girl, who was being held above the waves by her father before he drowned.

“It was a quiet day at the beach — the boys were boogie boarding, the girls were playing in the sand,” Smith said. “We were talking about what we were going to have for dinner when Brad, my husband, suggested going for a walk — nothing more — down the beach. I still cannot accept that Brad never returned from that short walk on the beach, that the beach collapsed under their feet, and that we lost him forever, and almost lost our 7-year-old daughter.”

North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said the section of beach where the incident occurred is an unguarded beach where signs prohibiting swimming were in place before Smith’s death.

“The city of North Wildwood takes its beach protection responsibilities quite seriously,” he said. “In fact, there has never been a drowning incident at a protected beach in the City of North Wildwood in its 100-plus years of existence.”

Sandra Smith said that during the four days her husband remained missing in the ocean, police officers repeatedly came to the house where they were staying and told them how dangerous that area of beach is.

“Every day I think and worry about the people that visit this beach every year and have no idea of the danger from simply taking a short walk; not a swim, not a nature trek, but just a walk on a public beach where there were no warnings or signs — nothing — urging you to stay away,” she said.

The lawsuit claims the town, county and state were negligent in allowing a dangerous condition, obscured by waves, to exist in areas were swimmers were present.

It also asserts work that was done at the beach including beach replenishment contributed to the dangerous condition.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

Best of NJ101.5

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for New Jersey Insiders quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive New Jersey Insiders contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.