- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A suspect who jumped into the Passaic River and climbed into a storm drain to avoid capture has not been found, police said Thursday.

Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said the rescue effort will now be a recovery mission because no one has seen the man get out. He said the suspect may have gotten trapped in the drain by rising water.

Officials said the suspect jumped into the river to avoid capture by Harrison police during a vehicle stop Wednesday.

Police said the suspect swam across the river, climbed onto a support on a bridge, jumped back into the river, swam to the storm drain and went inside.

“There’s gases, there’s 8 feet of water in there,” Ambrose said. “There’s high tide. So I hope for his sake he did make it out.”

He said that the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission has assisted the search with a camera-equipped robot without success.

The lower portion of the Passaic River, which runs between Newark and neighboring Harrison and empties into Newark Bay, is heavily contaminated from decades of industrial activity, including from a factory that produced Agent Orange in the 1960s. It is the focus of a recently announced $1.4 billion cleanup effort.

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