Police & Fire

Westfield Teen Dies in Diving Accident in Avon by the Sea

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Jeffrey Hoens, a 17-year-old Westfield resident, died this weekend while diving in the Shark River inlet in Avon by the Sea. Credits: Susan Bonnell
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AVON BY THE SEA, NJ — The body of a teenage boy found in an inlet in Avon by the Sea has been identified as Jeffrey Hoens, a 17-year-old Westfield resident and rising senior at St. Peters Preparatory where he played ice hockey, according to Avon by the Sea Police Chief Terence Mahon.

Friends who had been diving with Hoens alerted police Saturday afternoon that he was missing, Mahon said, prompting a search by Avon by the Sea police, a local water rescue team, the Coast Guard, Belmar police and New Jersey State Police.

Hoens’ body was discovered Sunday afternoon at the base of the bridge where he had been free diving, a form of diving without scuba gear that requires divers to hold their breath for an extended period of time. It is not unusual for someone free diving to go off on their own, Mahon said, and searchers had looked on both land and water hoping to find him safe.

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People he interviewed told him that Hoens was a skilled diver who often gave away the fish that he speared, Mahon said.

“This boy seemed like a nice young man with a promising future,” Mahon said.

Hoens’ family has been notified, Mahon said. 

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