A Hudson County man who drowned despite an intense effort by rescuers to save him at a closed swimming lake at Darlington County Park in Mahwah didn't know how to swim, friends and loved ones said.
Loved ones, neighbors and others have been trying to comfort the family of Kevin Acevedo at the 51st Street apartment in Weehawken where he'd lived his entire life.
Kevin had just turned 21 two weeks ago, they said.
He and his friend, Andrew Florez, 20, also of Weehawken, weren't supposed to be in the lake, which is open for swimming only on weekends this time of year, Bergen County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Keisha J. McLean said.
Florez apparently swam out to the floating platform around 7 p.m. Thursday, then repeatedly invited Acevedo to follow him, friends and responders said.
Acevedo, who couldn't swim, eventually relented, they said.
He went under in roughly seven feet of water, according to responders.
A bystander who saw him struggling called 911, said McLean of the sheriff's office.
Detective Timothy Letavish, who was down the street, rushed to the scene and jumped in, Mahwah Police Capt. Stuart Blank said.
Township Officers David LaCasio, William Hunt, Kevin McCombs and Jason Stepp followed, along with Mahwah EMS Deputy Chief Austin Miller, the captain said.
As they searched, Officer Luke Rice deployed a drone that spotted Acevedo moments later, he said.
Secured by a rope, Mahwah Fire Co. 1 Dive Rescue Team member James Warnet gathered him up. Both were then pulled in by his colleagues.
The rescuers continued CPR until an EMS unit took Acevedo to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, where he was pronounced dead, McLean said.
Funeral arrangements hadn't been publicly announced as of Saturday.
A GoFundMe account was created by his cousin, Franklin Medina, to help with funeral expenses: Kevin Acevedo Memorial Service (NOTE: The account created by Medina is the only one authorized by the family).
The swimming lakes at Darlington are open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends, weather permitting. They open on weekdays, as well, beginning June 28.
NOTE: Authorities previously misidentified Acevedo's residence as being in Maywood. Family members said he lived in Weehawken his entire life.
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