What to Know
- Search crews had been scouring the Passaic River for days in hopes of finding any of three people, including two Seton Hall students, who were swept away by Ida's floodwaters last week and remain missing
- Two bodies were recovered in the river over a 24-hour period this week; Passaic's mayor says the medical examiner has confirmed their identities as the two missing students
- More than 40 people in NJ and NY died of Ida-related flooding, officials have said; more than half were in the Garden State
The two bodies recovered this week in New Jersey have been identified by the medical examiner's office as the two missing college students who vanished together last week amid Ida's floods.
Nidi Rana and Ayush Rana, both Seton Hall students who lived in Passaic, hadn't been seen since floodwaters overtook their car near the swollen river during the height of the storm.
Passaic Mayor Hector Lora confirmed to NBC New York the office's identification Friday, one day after the second body was found near Route 21 and Clay Street.
The previous night, crews made the grim discovery of the first student less than 4 miles away in Kearny.
Local fire chief Pat Trentacost also confirmed Thursday's discovery to NJ.com, saying, "We have a body. We are investigating it. No confirmation yet," the website reported.
It was barely 12 hours earlier that detectives and a medical examiner were at the Frank Vincent Marina in Kearny, where Hudson County authorities acknowledged that a body found that day could be one of three people swept away last week.
Search teams using sophisticated underwater sonar have been scouring the Passaic River day in and day out, looking for any of the missing people.
Area searchers are still looking for 56-year-old Donna Lomagro, who was nearly rescued by good Samaritans the night her car was flooded.
The current was too strong.
And with more than a week gone by since Ida's terrifying flash floods, rescuers know the chances of finding the missing alive are slim.
On Friday, President Joe Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Agency added Essex, Hudson and Union counties to the state's major disaster declaration, making each eligible for federal recover aid. FEMA had previously approved the declaration for Bergen, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic and Somerset counties.
Both New Jersey and New York, especially the city, were slammed by Ida's monstrous flash floods and record-breaking rainfall days after the storm made landfall as a hurricane in Louisiana. More than 40 people in the two states died of storm-related causes, the vast majority (at least 27) of them in New Jersey.