Body of Fisherman Whose Boat Capsized Recovered From Delaware River in New Jersey

by Craig Garrett

The body of a fisherman that went missing over a week ago has been recovered from the Delaware River by authorities. The fisherman was 47-year-old William Van Dyke, the Mid Hudson News reports. According to New York State Police and other law enforcement authorities, Van Dyke’s body was discovered by a police helicopter over New York City on Monday, September 19. It was taken to the Morris County Medical Examiner’s office in Morristown, New Jersey. The body was examined and released Monday evening.

New York and New Jersey State Police joined forces to search for Van Dyke. New Jersey Medical Examiner personnel also joined the search. On Monday, some of those officials went to Mashipacong Island, where they conducted an investigation, recovered and identified the body. Authorites called the family about the discovery.

Van Dyke and a lifetime friend went missing when they took Van Dyke’s new Jon boat out on September 8. The two left #2 Bridge in Deerpark and capsized near Cherry Island. They were making their way upriver to a familiar fishing spot. The river swept away their supplies. This included their life jackets. The two were able to make it to nearby mid-river Cherry Island. However, the unseasonably chilly water and air temperatures that morning, as well as a lack of resources, forced them to act. They decicded to re-enter the river and swim towards a visible New York shore.

The fishermen encounter a harrowing ordeal on the Delaware River

The friend reached the shore, getting past the strong current. His friend realized that Van Dyke was swimming near the island and not moving as he struggled to survive. His companion urged him to grab a branch and swim to the island or stay onshore. Van Dyke did not respond. The friend was unable to physically reach him.

Many people had noticed the situation and notified emergency responders. Van Dyke, however, was no longer visible by the time authorities were able to arrive. A search by several agencies lasted for days. The National Park Service rangers conducting daily searches on both banks and long stretches of the river. Family and friends kept a vigil for 12 days after Monday’s discovery to end the search. A member of Van Dyke’s family contacted the Mid Hudson News by phone. They said that his wife and two children were staying with relatives and friends in Port Jervis during the crisis.

The National Park Service urges everyone planning on being on the Upper Delaware River this fall or winter in a boat, canoe, or kayak to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket during these cold weather months. The Cold Water Life Jacket Wear regulation is effective from November 1st through April 30th.