AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — Belmar Patrolman Lawrence Kelly played a major role in the rescue of a 59-year-old man this morning, January 16, from the Shark River Inlet, according to police.

Belmar Police and Belmar Water Rescue Team were among local responders answering an emergency call at 8:55 a.m. of a man in the frigid waters near the Main Street bridge, said Belmar Detective Capt. Thomas W. Cox.

Kelly in a kayak and two men in a canoe — identified in reports as contractors working nearby on Poole Avenue— were able to reach the man and get him onto land near the Avon Riverfront Park and Marina. Authorities said he was in the water, heading east toward the ocean, for about 20 minutes. He could be heard shouting for help before the rescue. 

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The man, who Belmar police did not identify, was transported by Bradley Beach First Aid to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. He was interviewed there by Belmar Detective Lt. Michael Campbell and Detective John Mahoney, police said.

The incident was not related to the search for Mark Ritter, 54, of Lake Como who was reported missing by family members on January 14 after his vehicle was found at the Belmar Marina, according to Belmar police.

A contingent of borough and state police, as well as local and county first responders, conducted an intensive search on January 14 and 15 of the marina and the Shark River for the missing man.

Anyone with information on Ritter’s whereabouts is asked to call Belmar Police Department at 732-681-1700.

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