A 16-year-old rookie lifeguard was critically injured in an accident Thursday while performing a patrol in the ocean off Cape May, officials said.

Cape May City Manager Michael Voll said in a statement that the accident occurred off Reading Avenue Beach.

Voll said that while the teen was rowing a lifeguard boat in the ocean, the boat was broadsided by a wave and flipped over and the teen was knocked unconscious. Fellow lifeguards responded immediately to his aid, Voll said.

The teen was identified as Norman V. Inferrera by his aunt, Kathleen Inferrera Price, who started a GoFundMe campaign to help his family pay mounting medical expenses.

”While conducting a routine lifeguard patrol to keep people from getting into the rough surf, Norman’s lifeguard boat capsized. He hit his head on the boat and was unconscious. He had to be resuscitated twice and airlifted to Cooper [University Hospital] trauma unit,” Price wrote on the GoFundMe page.

”This summer champ was involved in many rescues including a four-year-old child,” Price wrote.

“Norman was loved by all and an all-around awesome kid. He wanted to be a lifeguard to help save others and that is what he spent the summer doing,” Price said in an email to The Inquirer.

Voll said in his statement: “The positive impact he has had on our beach patrol is evident based on the large outpouring of love and support from his fellow guards and the Cape May community.”