Authorities continue to search New Jersey's Passaic River for a worker swept away by a storm surge while inspecting a bridge Monday, authorities say.
Several workers with a private company were in shallow canal waters inspecting underneath the President Street Bridge Monday when it started raining profusely, according to Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco and witnesses.
The canal, which sits at the entrance to a Home Depot store and flows into the Passaic River, flooded within minutes, according to witness Jeremy Rodriguez. Rodriguez and another bystander, Valentin Beltran, helped to pull one worker out, but couldn't get to the other one quickly enough.
The worker was swept away by floodwaters in Weasel Brook, witnesses and authorities said. A 911 call was made at about 2:45 p.m.; a helmet and two flashlights were found in the water, the mayor said, but the man, who was not wearing a life jacket, could not be located.
A source close to the search identified the man as 47-year-old Efrain Crajeda, of Monroe Township.
"It started raining so fast and the tide came up, and it happened so quick," said Rodriguez. "I feel bad, because we couldn't do nothing about it."
The one worker who was rescued was grateful.
"When he came out, he said, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you,' and he was just crying," said Rodriguez. "He said, 'I was born again."'
Firefighters and other responders were on boats in the water searching for the man, and they were also using sonar and infrared equipment.
The search extended at least a mile.