Man Disappears While Swimming in Delaware River in Bucks County

The search was suspended for a swimmer who disappeared in the Delaware River in Bucks County Sunday.

The swimmer, 22-year-old Marquis Richardson of Virginia, was reported missing about 10:05 a.m., officials told NBC10. He was in the water at Bristol Wharf, off of Mill and Radcliffe streets in Bristol when he disappeared.

"When I got the text I was in church," said Richardson's aunt Judy Cowan. "I just broke down and everybody in church said a prayer for him and for the family. I still believe there's hope." 

Cowan told NBC10 that Richardson, who had moved from Camden to Virginia, was with his girlfriend at the park when he went under the water. Witnesses told NBC10 it happened in a split second.

"He touched the buoy twice," said Jerry Shumsonk of Fairless Hills. "It seemed like he was doing okay. The front stroke and everything looked impressive. And he left the buoy and he went down the water a little bit."

The witnesses saw Richardson communicate with his girlfriend who was on the shore. Then they heard his frantic cries for help.

"I saw him go under the water about three times," Shumsonk said. "The fourth time he never came out. I got up and called 911." 

New Jersey State Police and the Coast Guard were among entities that responded and conducted the search. They switched to recovery mode at 11:15 a.m., authorities said. Divers then arrived around 1:30 p.m.

Around 5 p.m. officials suspended the search due to a dangerous current.

Officials said the Bristol Wharf is a particularly dangerous section of the Delaware to swim, because the river goes from four to five feet and drops off suddenly to about 20 feet.

The man's disappearance comes on the heels of a drowning in the Delaware River in Pike County Saturday afternoon. In that incident, 41-year-old Jason Moser of Myerstown was trying to swim across the river in the area of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area when he went under about 2:30 p.m. Authorities said his body was recovered about two hours later in 10 feet of water in an area called Shad Rocks between Bushkill Access and Smithfield Beach.

Park superintendent John Donahue said after the drowning that the Delaware's current is strong and quick, and the depth can change suddenly, "often going from knee-deep to over your head in a single step."

Also on Sunday, another man died after swimming in the Delaware River in Burlington City, New Jersey.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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