Officials on Thursday made the discovery one day after the boy disappeared while swimming with three other teens at Rowan Lake in Hamilton Township, Mercer County.
He was one of four teens out for a swim to celebrate the first day of summer, but they were caught in a pop-up storm.
"And then the current was so heavy that it took him," Jarod Tatarek of Hamilton Township, New Jersey said.
Fifteen-year-old Jarod described the nightmarish scene moments after they jumped into the marsh on the edge of Roebling Memorial Park. He and three others had gone swimming when one of them, a friend of a friend named Marty, got caught up in a ferocious current.
"I tried to reach out to sort of grab him, we were like this (clasping hands) and then like since the current was so strong, it took him away from my hand and he went down going under, coming up gasping for air," Jarod said.
For several agonizing seconds, he saw Marty being swept away by the current, bobbing up and down in the water, gasping for air as he came up.
"And then when he went around like the corner, I lost sight of him. The current was so heavy and he didn't know how to swim. Maybe he shouldn't have gone in, or we shouldn't have gone in," Jarod said.
As the search went on, neighbors held a grim watch nearby conveying a sense of the unthinkable, soon to be confirmed by authorities.
The superintendent of schools says Wednesday was the last day of school, but that counselors will be made available Thursday for those students who are in mourning over this loss.
HAMILTON TWP., NJ - With every passing minute, the outcome does not look good.
Divers were in the water at Roebling Park in Hamilton looking for a missing swimmer on Wednesday night.
The possible drowning victim went missing after a strong storm rolled through the area about 5 p.m.
“They’re still actively looking for the party out there,” a Hamilton police lieutenant told The Trentonian shortly before 7:30 p.m.
Police would not release any additional information.
Boats, helicopters and divers were on the scene looking for the swimmer at Rowan Lake.
New Jersey State Police were assisting Hamilton fire and police for the water rescue.
“Our marine unit has been called out to assist,” Trooper Lawrence Peele said Wednesday.
The lake is connected to Crosswicks Creeks, which is a tributary of the Delaware River.
At the scene, a diver was instructed by a fire official that the swimmer disappeared in Rowan Lake, which is located right off the path in the park.
According to the Mercer County Park Commission’s website, swimming is not a listed activity in the park. The agency outlines visitors can fish, kayak and hike.
Roebling Park is part of the Abbott Marshlands, a winding freshwater marsh connected to the Delaware River, the Mercer County Park Commission states.
No witnesses were present at the scene.
As of press time at 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Hamilton police did not provide any updates about the status of the rescue.