LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston area residents are mourning the loss of Isabella Brodsky, 17, and Matthew Poole, 18, two rising Livingston High School seniors who died on Tuesday night after swimming in Ramapo Lake in Oakland with their friends.
“On behalf of the town council, the town employees and all of the residents, we express our heartfelt condolences to both families of the victims of this tragic event that took place,” said Livingston Mayor Ed Meinhardt. “It really goes to show how fragile life is at times and we are very sorry that this took place.”
Four other individuals between the ages of 17 and 19 were said to be present at the time of the incident and alerted the authorities. These individuals will not be identified by this publication due to their ages.
Nearly $30,000 had already been raised at the time of this publication through a GoFundMe Page created by Alanna Dixon, whose son has been looked after by Poole’s mother since infancy, in order to assist the Poole family with funeral arrangements and other expenses.
The page indicates that Poole, a member of the Livingston Lancers football team, had jumped into the lake to assist Brodsky, a member of the Roseland Volunteer First Aid Squad, after she appeared to be struggling in the water. It is believed that the water became rough following Tuesday’s sudden, intense thunderstorm, and neither of the teens was able to overcome the currents.
Many have written on the fundraising site about Poole's bright future and how he lived his life as a very respectful and kind young man. Very little information has been released about Brodsky, who was a member of the high school's track and field team in addition to volunteering with the Roseland First Aid Squad.
Classmates took to Facebook and other outlets with plans to meet for a vigil to honor their peers.
“Livingston Public Schools (LPS) confirms that the tragedy in Oakland, NJ on Tuesday, Aug. 7 involved two Livingston High School students that would have been seniors in September: a 17-year-old female and an 18-year-old male,” LPS said in an issued statement. “Our district is providing counseling services and resources for students, staff and families in our community.”
The school will remain open on Thursday for students, staff and family to help the community process this news. More information will be shared as it becomes available.