RUMSON — Police are encouraging people to avoid walking on the frozen Navesink River after two boys were lucky enough to escape unharmed after falling through the ice.

The boys, who police say were around 12 years old, were playing at Victory Park on Monday afternoon when they went walking onto the river. Sgt. Chris Isherwood said the boys were able to get themselves out of the frozen river and were walking away unharmed when police responded to the scene.

Isherwood said during the recent deep freeze, the river has frozen over, making it look like it is safe to walk on. However, he said temperature changes have made it more dangerous than it appears.

"I don't think the kids realized the big thaw we had over the weekend," he said. "It might have been safe last week, but it's not safe this week."

Police are hoping that with other kids around when the boys fell through, word will spread that walking on the ice is not a good idea.

The constantly changing temperatures have made ice safety across the state an issue. Mayor Rob Greenbaum of Mount Olive said Budd Lake, where two teenagers died after ice fishing several years ago, gives the impression of being a mass of solid ice. In reality, he said, there are warm currents that can make it a danger to people who try walking on it.

Greenbaum said that while other towns check frozen lakes and ponds for ice safety, his does not, and that people who try to go out on the ice "do so at their own risk."

"You never know for sure whether it's frozen through," he said.

The frozen bodies of water haven't only been an issue for people as several dogs have also fallen through the ice. In Oaklyn the fire department was called in to pull a pup from a frozen lake, with a similar rescue situation unfolding in Howell. Just this week a dog had to be pulled from a South Jersey lake as well.

Previous reporting by David Matthau was used in this report

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