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Three died on the beach. Now families are asking for its closure.

Three deaths on a New Jersey beach have sparked discussions about the role of government in protecting its citizens from disasters, and whether or not those tragedies are the result of natural conditions or not. 

In three separate incidents in New Jersey, three individuals have lost their lives after the sand beneath them gave way, plunging them into swirling waters according to the Associated Press. Now their families are asking a judge to permanently close the beach where their deaths occurred, warning that these types of tragedies could continue happening. 

 

Just a matter of time?

The three victims died on a beach in New Jersey's North Wildwood, along the Hereford Inlet. Two of the victims, Jamila Watkins and Shayne Hart passed in 2009, while Brad Smith died in 2012 as the sand gave way underneath him and his 7 year old daughter. His daughter was rescued after Mr. Smith held her above water. Rescuers, however, were unable to save him.

Now, their families are warning that this type of tragedy could occur again. Specifically, in each instance, the victims were walking in ankle deep length along the water's shore when the sand beneath them collapsed, plunging them into swirling and deadly waters. 

According to a report by a former official of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, tidal conditions had created deteriorating sand structures on the water's edge that were invisible to passerby. However, the sand has the capacity to suddenly cave into a ten foot drop, well beneath the waters. 

What is the town's responsibility?

Currently, there are signs in place warning of dangerous conditions. Town residents want far sterner warnings, however.

But does the state have the imperative to close the beach? According to a lawyer for North Wildwood, said the town is not under obligation to do so, as these sand conditions are a natural occurrence. 

A judge however, has yet to agree to the attorney's case and a determination on the beach's future will be coming shortly. 

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