EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J., Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The family of the late George Bradley Smith, who drowned in July 2012 while strolling in ankle deep water along Hereford Inlet beach with his seven-year-old daughter during summer vacation, today asked the New Jersey Superior Court to immediately close that highly lethal, unstable section of North Wildwood City beach before it kills again. The proposed Order (NJSC / CPM-L-415-16) to close the beach, believed to be unprecedented in New Jersey, is supported by sworn deposition testimony from a survivor, active and retired North Wildwood beach patrol officers, and detailed analysis (with video drone footage) by a leading forensic coastal engineering expert who advocates closure.
Mr. Smith, 54, was suddenly pulled from the surf down into the swirling ocean on July 27, 2012. He was the father of four, his two youngest with Sandra Smith. His two adult children are also plaintiffs in the litigation. A strong swimmer, he was no match for the powerful, changing currents that helped create a violent whirlpool or vortex effect referenced in the Order to Show Cause. His body was recovered two miles away three days later. Mr. Smith, whose family was vacationing in North Wildwood for the first time, struggled to save his daughter (Brandy Smith), who he frantically handed over to a Jet Ski operator that happened to see the father and daughter in distress. By the time the Good Samaritan returned for Mr. Smith, the father, grandfather, and husband had vanished. According to the filing, "There is a real and certain substantial potential of injury and/or death to beach goers" stepping foot onto the visually inviting but potentially deadly beach. The City of North Wildwood and State of New Jersey are the named defendants.
In 2014, nearly two years after the drowning, Mr. Smith's family-estate filed a wrongful death complaint asserting that the drowning was entirely foreseeable and preventable had local authorities simply prohibited any access to the deadly section of beach. This latest filing contains significant new information, according to attorney Paul R. D'Amato, that should remove any doubt the strip of inlet beaches (from roughly north of 1st Ave. and Surf Ave. until Spruce Ave.) should immediately be closed off to not just swimmers, but walkers, waders, surf fishermen, and all others.
"The only reason the beach remains open to this day is to protect North Wildwood's image as a fun and carefree tourist destination. The politicians, elected officials, and businesses there do not want anyone to think there could be any risk to visitors, even those taking an afternoon walk in ankle-deep water on a section of unguarded beach," said Mr. D'Amato. "Listening to the testimony of our scientific experts combined with beach patrol officials and survivors should make anyone question why that beach wasn't closed at least a decade ago."
J. Richard Weggel, Ph.D, P.E., D.CE, Professor Emeritus at Drexel University, and a former official with the Army Corps of Engineers, issued a report on April 19, 2016, that advocated beach closure. He concluded, "The dangerous slope conditions are below the water line and are not visible to pedestrians walking on the beach, furthermore, they are not generally predictable although they probably occur most frequently during ebb current flows in the inlet." He said as a professional engineer who extensively reviewed the characteristics of the inlet, he has a duty to warn the public against visiting that section of beach.
The trial team consists of Mr. D'Amato and Kasi M. Gifford, of the D'Amato Law Firm (Egg Harbor Township) along with attorneys Joseph Grassi and Oliver Barry (of Wildwood).
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SOURCE D'Amato Law Firm