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Searchers Recover Body Of Hackensack Swimmer Who Drowned In River

The body was found just before 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The body was found just before 3 p.m. Tuesday. Photo Credit: Willy Thompson for DAILY VOICE

Searchers Tuesday afternoon recovered the body of Jose Cortez from the Hackensack River, whose friends told police he drowned while trying to swim across to Bogota.

The 39-year-old's body was recovered from behind the Costco just before 3 p.m. -- 48 hours after he went under -- and was being removed.

Searchers pinpointed it early Monday evening but were unable to retrieve it due to the current.

"Between the tide and the darkness [they] just couldn’t get him -- it’s all muck," one responder said.

They waited until the 2:30 p.m. low tide, then were able to retrieve the body.

Friends told police the man "began struggling to remain above water [but] disappeared below the surface" around 3 p.m. Sunday, Capt. Frank Aquila said.

His friends searched with no luck, Aquila said.

Police were finally notified by the man's nephew after he failed to return home, the captain said.

Hackensack police and firefighters were variously joined during the three-day search by Bogota police, a Maywood police bloodhound, a Ridgefield Park rescue team, dive teams from Oradell, Lyndhurst and Wallington and the New Jersey State Police Northstar helicopter.

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