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Search for missing swimmer in the Delaware River is now a recovery mission

UPDATE: Body of missing simmer recovered from the Delaware River

DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECERATION AREA – The search for a missing swimmer in the Delaware River is now presumed to be a recovery mission, according to the National Park Service.

Christopher Schofield, 23, of Stroudsburg was attempting to swim across the river near Prices Landing Tuesday night with two other people when he began struggling in the current which is particularly swift in this section of the Delaware River, authorities said.

Schofield was last seen going under water just above the old bridge abutments about a half-mile upstream from the Interstate 80 toll bridge. The other two swimmers made it to the New Jersey shore and were later rescued by volunteer rescue team members, authorities said.

None of the three swimmers were wearing a life jacket, authorities said.

Crews on Wednesday searched the area from 1/2 mile upstream of the I80 toll bridge downstream to Kittatinny Point.  Today’s efforts focused on the high probably areas from Kittatinny Point downstream to the Point of Gap Overlook area. The National Park Service has also used drones to search from the air, park officials said.

Rescue crews called off their search of the Delaware River at around 5:00 p.m., authorities said.

The search for Schofield continued Thursday with surface and shoreline searches and underwater searches by the National Park Service Dive Team, park officials said.

Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Recovery Team (volunteers) also contributed staff, a boat, a search dog and side-scan sonar. An additional boat and several park rangers from the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, another National Park Service unit just to the north of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, were brought in to assist, park officials said.

Divers were removed from the river around 12:30 p.m. Thursday for their own safety due to weather and visibility conditions. Divers reported that visibility was poor and getting worse due to the rain stirring up silt, making it hard to see their hands in front of them, even with lights, authorities said.

The National Park Service will continue the surface and shoreline search through the weekend if necessary, park officials said.

The National Park Service Dive Team will be on standby but will not be deployed until conditions are suitable and safe, authorities said.

“While we are still searching, this is now presumed to be a recovery mission,” park officials said.

National Park Service rangers and dive team members from Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, staff from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and volunteers from the Portland Hook and Ladder Company, Knowlton Township Fire and Rescue Company, and Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Recovery Team (SARRT) are assisting in the search.

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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