Search for suspect who fled into drain now recovery mission

AP News
Posted: Aug 04, 2016 1:58 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A suspect who jumped into the Passaic River and climbed into a storm drain to avoid capture has not been found, police said Thursday.

Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said the rescue effort will now be a recovery mission because no one has seen the man get out. He said the suspect may have gotten trapped in the drain by rising water.

Officials said the suspect jumped into the river to avoid capture by Harrison police during a vehicle stop Wednesday.

Police said the suspect swam across the river, climbed onto a support on a bridge, jumped back into the river, swam to the storm drain and went inside.

Ambrose said the drain had 8 feet of water in it and gases.

The lower portion of the Passaic River, which runs between Newark and neighboring Harrison and empties into Newark Bay, is heavily contaminated from decades of industrial activity, including from a factory that produced Agent Orange in the 1960s. It is the focus of a recently announced $1.4 billion cleanup effort.

Catching crabs is prohibited, as is consumption of fish and crab taken from river, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.