February 4, 2013 at 4:06 PM
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Two people have been hospitalized after being rescued Saturday night from the Passaic River.
According to reports, the Berkeley Heights Dispatch Center received a call at 8:18 p.m. Saturday about people in the river, near the sewer plant. When Berkeley Heights firefighters and police arrived they were initially unable to make contact with the victims, but the Berkeley Heights Fire Department Rescue Company ultimately located the victims west of Summit Avenue, at the former Berkeley Chemical Site on the Long Hill Township side of the Passaic River, officials said. The victims were walking on the ice when they fell through. Rescuers found them clinging to a tree, suffering from the effects of hypothermia. Officials estimate they were in the water for an hour.
The New Providence Fire Department provided mutual aid. Members of the Berkeley Heights Fire Department, Long Hill Police and Chatham Township Police Department’s attempted to reach the victims on foot from the north side of the river, but due to flooding conditions and difficult terrain it proved impossible, officials said.
The water rescue unit from New Providence Fire Department reached the victims and moved them to the south side of the river for treatment from the Berkeley Heights Rescue Squad. They were transported to Morristown Hospital.
Four firefighters were treated at the scene for cuts and exposure to the water. Union County Fire Mutual Aid sent an Engine from Summit and Plainfield, and Warren sent a tower ladder to cover the township in the event of another emergency. Long Hill First Aid Squad sent an ambulance to the scene.