LAKE HOPATCONG, NJ — A 32 year old man from Parsippany is still missing in Lake Hopatcong. The search for the missing swimmer is now in its third day, New Jersey State Police said Monday morning.
It was a birthday celebration that brought Avinash Kuna out on the water with his friends on Saturday. They rented a pontoon boat and went out for a day of fun that turned tragic.
Tragedy struck in the Henderson Cove section. According to a GoFundMe site set up by the victims friends, Avinash got into the water and within no time started yelling that something was pulling him down. He started screaming for help and was flailing and gasping for air.
The friends tried to help throw him a life vest but couldn't reach him. One of the friends jumped into the water wearing a life vest but had to be pulled out when it came off. Avinash started to drown in the dark muddy water. They called Bridge Marina and 911 for help.
After the friends called 911, the search quickly began but so far has been unsuccessful. "Unfortunately due a lot of weed in the lake and bad weather conditions, search was unsuccessful on Saturday and Sunday and is still in the process," Majeti wrote. State Police confirmed they would continue to search on Monday.
Marine Services Bureau troopers are using sonar detection equipment to continue the search, and have been assisted by State Police Aviation, Missing Persons, T.E.A.M.S. Units and the Jefferson Fire Department.
State Police have not called off the search, but Majeti wrote that they are prepared for the worst.
"Based on the current situation, unfortunately we have to say there are extremely less chances of getting back alive. In case of unfortunate event of not seeing him alive, we are planning to send the body back to India for his family and well-wishers to see him for one last time and to perform last rituals," Majeti said.
"Avinash is one of the very few people being loved by all his associates for his plain hearted nature and willingness to help others. He always cared for well-being of fellow people and the society," Majeti wrote." "He had high ambitions in life, to become an entrepreneur, give back to the society, travel places around the globe etc. He has started working recently and began to support his family members who have restlessly worked for Avinash's successful career."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the Kuna family, and to help bring Kuna's body back to India. You can help by clicking through to the GoFundMe drive.