Body of Missing Paddleboarder Found in NJ Pond Day After Drowning

The victim's family were hoping for a miracle, but it didn't come; the family said the 24-year-old screamed goodbye to his brother as he slipped under the murky water a day ago

NBC Universal, Inc.

Crews recovered a body from the New Jersey pond where, just a day prior, a man went missing while paddleboarding, according to the town's mayor.

A body was pulled from Dators Pond around 3 p.m. Tuesday, Mahwah Mayor James Wysocki said. The body was later confirmed to be that of Mario Morales, who went missing Monday evening.

The Morales family had been anxiously waiting for any news for nearly a day, and did not get he miracle they were hoping for. The family told NBC New York that the 24-year-old screamed goodbye to his brother as he slipped under the murky water a day ago.

Rescue crews on Monday were frantically searching for a man who went missing at a New Jersey pond, officials said. NBC New York's Ida Siegal reports.

The Bergen County Diver task force recovered the body about 20 hours after witnesses said a man went missing. A witness who was fishing around the time Morales disappeared told NBC New York that he saw a group of about five young men on paddle boards in the water. Morales' brother said it was something they had done before, but it is not permitted at the pond.

Mario lost his balance and fell into the water at one point, according to the witness, and the others were not able to help him as they did not appear able to swim.

The fisherman called 911 after, but said he never saw the man come up from the water.

Morales' family said that he had moved to the U.S. just eight months ago from Guatemala and was working as a landscaper. It is believed that Morales did not know how to swim, and was not wearing a life vest. When he fell off the paddleboard into the cold, deep water, there was no one to save him.

While Wysocki said on Monday that no one had trouble swimming in the pond, he added that there are signs at the gate that state no swimming and no ATVs. The pond is located in a very rural area, Wysocki said, and it was originally a quarry.

The drowning is the second in five days in Mahwah. On June 10, a 21-year-old man drown in Darlington Lake while swimming in another area that goes unsupervised on weekdays.

Contact Us