Two men have died after a pontoon boat carrying seven people capsized in an inlet in New Jersey, officials say.
The boat was in the Manasquan Inlet, near Point Pleasant Beach, when it flipped into the water Friday afternoon, according to New Jersey State Police.
Multiple agencies responded with choppers and boats in the search-and-rescue operation, including State Police Marine Service, State Police Aviation, U.S. Coast Guard and NYPD. All seven men on the boat were recovered.
Alex Osadchy, 66, was pronounced dead on the scene, and Grigory Klokishner, 74, died at Jersey Shore Hospital in Neptune, state police said. Both were from Philadelphia.
Four others were taken to Ocean Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, and one refused medical treatment, according to state police.
Police said they're investigating but believe the strong currents were a contributing factor in the boat overturning. It's not clear if the men were wearing life vests.
Another witness Dan Gallagher, 18, was getting ready to surf when he saw a wave come up from behind the boat and flip it over.
"I saw the pontoon coming around the corner of the rocks, and one wave came up behind it and almost tipped it," he told Asbury Park Press. "As soon as it hit, the boat just kind of sat there. And the next wave came up right behind it and tipped it over the rest of the way."
Gallagher said it looked like there were about seven people in the water.
"Luckily, none of them got pulled toward the rocks. They were all able to get out in the water, but we didn't really see everybody coming up," he said.
Nearby boats and surfers in the water rushed to help some of the victims from the water before emergency responders arrived, said Gallagher.
"It's very, very heartbreaking that two people died, and it was so close to the beach," said another surfer, Keefer McKenna.
Witness Laura McGurk Stockel said she was fishing on her family's boat when they came across the rescue. She did not see what caused the boat to capsize but said there were very large swells Friday, and her own family had a hard time navigating their boat into the inlet.