News Department

Body of missing swimmer recovered from the Delaware River

DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECERATION AREA – The body of 19-year-old Jose Madera-Martinez of Paterson was recovered on Sunday at around 11:15 a.m. from the waters of the Delaware River near Kittatinny Point within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area by National Park Service search crews, according to the National Park Service.

Madera-Martinez was found in approximately 12 feet of water, mid-channel, about a mile downstream from where he was last seen struggling in the current at around 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. He was attempting to swim from the New Jersey shoreline at Karamac to the bridge abutments in the middle of the river.

The Karamac area is located about a mile north of Interstate 80 on Old Mine Road. 

Two other swimmers were rescued from one of the abutments and another was able to swim to shore.  The current is particularly strong and swift in this area. None of the swimmers were wearing a lifejacket. 

According to US Park Ranger and Search and Rescue Team leader Dustin Gunderson, “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of this young man following this tragic incident.  While our crews always hold out hope for a rescue during these incidents, it is also important to search teams to be able to bring the bodies of deceased loved ones back to their families as quicky as possible. We are glad that we could do that today.”    

Gunderson and other park rangers encourage all river users to always wear a properly fitted and fastened, US Coast Guard approved lifejacket when recreating on or in the Delaware River- even swimmers, which may seem counter-intuitive to many people.  Most drownings in the park have occurred when people were swimming and no drownings have occurred when a properly fitted and fastened lifejacket was worn.

Ranger Gunderson added that during Saturday’s search operations, crews made two water rescues within the search area.   

The Delaware River may look calm in many areas but under the surface there are strong currents, steep drop-offs, sudden changes in depth, and underwater obstacles and hazards.

Wearing a properly fitted and fastened life jacket is the number one thing that one can do to stay safe around the river. None of the 104 drowning victims were wearing a properly fitted and fastened lifejacket. 

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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