Indian-Origin Man Drowns in NJ Lake While Celebrating His Birthday With Friends

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Avinash Kuna, seen on a gofundme page after he was beleived to have drowned on Lake Hopatcong June 1, 2019. (Photo: Kuna family) (Courtesy: Daily Record)

PARSIPPANY, NJ– The body of Avinash Kuna was recovered from Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey late Monday, two days after he was reported missing and presumed drowned, New Jersey State Police confirmed, reported Morristown Daily Record.

Members of the State Police Marine Services Bureau and TEAMS Unit recovered his body from Henderson Cove at 6:09 p.m. Monday.

Morristown Daily Record quoted Kuna’s friend, Jay Majeti, as saying that he was with Kuna and others on a pontoon boat Saturday when Kuna dove in for a swim, became caught up in weeds and disappeared under the water.

Kuna had rented the boat for his birthday, inviting a group of friends from his workplace at the UPS Technology Center in Parsippany, Majeti was quoted as saying.

“He went in, went forward a bit, and when he tried to come back, something caught his leg, and he seemed to drown right away,” Majeti told Morristown Daily Record. “I saw him floating.”

Majeti said he put on a life jacket and dove in to help save his friend, “but my life jacket came off, and then I was about to drown when my friends pulled me out,” he said. “In the 5 seconds that took, we lost him.”

State police launched a search Saturday, continuing the recovery effort through Monday in the shallow waters of Henderson Cove, according to Morristown Daily Record.

“It’s only about 5 to 8 feet deep there in the cove, but the weeds are 3 feet high,” Hopatcong Mayor Michael Francis, whose borough covers most of the western shoreline, told Morristown Daily Record.

Francis and others watched the recovery efforts Monday from the lakeside parking lot of the borough’s Glasser Post Office on Monday morning. The night before, Francis said he spoke to Kuna’s family members in India, with the assistance of a translator.

“They were devastated, as you can imagine,” he said.

A GoFundMe campaign page created for Kuna and his family had raised nearly $38,000 by Tuesday morning, according to the newspaper.

“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 wrote.

“He has started working recently and began to support his family members who have restlessly worked for Avinash’s successful career,” the GoFundMe page story states. “All dreams are now shattered with one tragic event. Knowing about this incident, his mother has been hospitalized in India.”

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