Lawsuit: Court should immediately close North Wildwood’s ‘highly lethal’ Hereford Inlet beach

    A state court should immediately close a “highly lethal, unstable” section of a North Wildwood beach “before it kills again,” a lawsuit filed today demands. 

    The family of George Bradley Smith, who drowned in June 2012 while walking through ankle deep water along the Hereford Inlet beach, is seeking an action in New Jersey Superior Court that the family’s attorney says is “believed to be unprecedented.” 

    Smith, 54, was suddenly pulled into the “swirling ocean” on July 27, 2012 after “powerful, changing currents helped create a violent whirlpool or vortex effect,” according to a release from the Egg Harbor-based D’Amato Law Firm.

    “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,” the release states.

    The court filing, naming North Wildwood and New Jersey as defendants, states that there is “a real and certain substantial potential of injury and/or death” to anyone who walks, fishes, wades, or swims at the stretch of beach between roughly north of 1st Avenue and Surf Avenue through Spruce Avenue. 

    “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,” coastal engineer J. Richard Weggel said in the release. 

    A call requesting comment from the attorney representing North Wildwood in the lawsuit wasn’t immediately returned.

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