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Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Lost Bird Watcher Found after Exhaustive Search

By Herald Staff

HIGBEE’S BEACH –– After an exhaustive group search last night, a lost bird watcher was found by Lower Township Police at 1:30 a.m.
Yesterday afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., the Cape May Police Department received a report of a missing person who was staying at the Montreal Hotel in Cape May, according to a report.
According to his wife, William Foley, 76, of Pelham, N.Y. went bird watching at the Higbee’s Beach Wildlife Management Area at approximately 7 a.m. and had not returned. Foley was reported to suffer from some medical problems.
Cape May Police Department then conducted a joint investigation with the Lower Township Police Department and located the victim’s car at the Higbee’s Beach Parking Area in Lower Township.
Police determined that Foley had been on a tour with a group of bird watchers earlier in the day and was last reported being seen at Sunset Beach in the vicinity of the Concrete Ship.
Police established a command post at the end of New England Road in Lower Township, where search efforts were conducted by police, fire and rescue officials.
K9 Officers from the county Sheriffs Department searched for Foley with tracking dogs for several hours.
In addition, the county Mosquito Commission helicopter, along with a Coast Guard helicopter and a search and rescue boat from the Townbank Fire Department also participated in the search.
After tracking dogs had swept the area, a large foot search was conducted by approximately 100 volunteer firefighters along with recruits from the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May.
The county Prosecutors Office and the County Office of Emergency Management also responded to the scene in the county Incident Command Vehicle, which was utilized as a command post for nighttime operations.
Authorities requested a State Police helicopter to respond to scene with night vision capabilities, however, the helicopter got within ten miles of the search area and had to return to base due to heavy fog conditions in the area.
Searchers on foot covered the entire area, which is covered in heavy underbrush and woods, until approximately 10:30 p.m., when officials terminated the search and set it to resume at first light this morning.
Lower Township Police Chief Edward Donohue, however, ordered several of his officers on Police ATVs equipped with thermal imagers to remain in the area all night long and continue the search.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., Sergeant Martin Biersbach and Detective Ed Dougherty of the Lower Township Police Department located Mr. Foley on the ground. He was disoriented and dehydrated, but conscious.
He was transported to the Cape Regional Medical Center by Lower Township Rescue Squad and admitted for observation.
The Lower Township Police Department would like to recognize the following organizations for their assistance in this search:
• Cape May Police Department
• Cape May County Sheriff’s Department K9 Unit
• Townbank Fire Department
• Erma Fire Department
• Villas Fire Department
• Cape May Point Fire Department
• West Cape May Fire Department
• Lower Township Rescue Squad
• Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office
• Cape May County Office of Emergency Management
• Cape May County Mosquito Commission
• United States Coast Guard
• New Jersey State Police
• Local Chapter of the American Red Cross

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