Man Drowns At Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

A New York man no doubt seeking some relief from the heat wave that's been baking the Northeast apparently drowned while swimming in the Delaware River at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Juan Roberto Salomon Delacruz, 51, of Brooklyn, died Saturday afternoon while swimming in the river near Kittatinny Point on the New Jersey side of the park. This is the second drowning in the Delaware River within the recreation area in 12 days, the Park Service said in a release.

At 4:19 p.m. Saturday, the Park Service’s 24-hour Communications Center received a report of a missing person who had last been seen by family members in the Kittatinny Point area approximately 90 minutes earlier.

Park rangers and troopers from the New Jersey State Police responded and a search of the grounds ensued. NPS boat operators began a search of the area from the river at 5:25 p.m. and located the victim’s body five minutes later, approximately 20 yards from the New Jersey shore in 9 to 12 feet of water. NPS divers recovered the body at 5:54 p.m. and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the Morris County Medical Examiner.

Mr. Delacruz had been swimming and picnicking with family members at the site. He was not wearing a lifejacket at the time of his death, the Park Service reported.

The recent heat wave has brought increased numbers of visitors to the park seeking to cool off on or near the water. The river appears deceptively calm, but has strong currents, sharp drop-offs, underwater obstacles, and a slippery, uneven bottom. The depth of the river can change suddenly and often unexpectedly.

The NRA offers life-guarded swimming areas at Turtle Beach in New Jersey and at Smithfield and Milford Beaches in Pennsylvania.