Man who went missing while boating found in Lake Hopatcong

JEFFERSON. Vessel operator Nicholas Zaratonello, 24, of Lake Hopatcong, was charged with boating under the influence, police said.

| 07 Aug 2019 | 11:45

A Mount Arlington man who fell off a boat and went missing in Lake Hopatcong on Aug. 3 has been found, police said.

The body of Jason Gill, 24, was recovered around 6:30 a.m. Monday after being spotted by a boater near the search area, according to New Jersey State Police.

The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office took possession of Gill for an autopsy, police said.

The investigation revealed vessel operator Nicholas Zarantonello, 24, of Lake Hopatcong, was under the influence at the time of Gill’s disappearance, police said.

It was not immediately clear what substance Zarantonello was under the influence of in the time leading up to the incident.

He was arrested and charged with boating under the influence, and was released pending a future court date, police said.

Troopers from the State Police Marine Services Bureau responded at approximately 7:42 p.m. Saturday to a report of a man who fell off a pontoon boat and submerged without resurfacing near Main Lake Market.

During the weekend, troopers conducted a search of the area using side scan sonar sub-surface detection equipment, police said.

According to Massachusetts-based underwater search products manufacturer JW Fishers, “side scan sonar is one of the most effective tools for underwater exploration because it can search a large area quickly and produce a detailed picture of anything on the bottom, regardless of water clarity.”

“When looking at a side scan image, it appears as if the water has been removed and the operator is getting an unobstructed view of the ocean floor, lake bottom, or river bed,” the company said.

Assisting in the search were State Police Aviation and T.E.A.M.S. Units, as well as the Jefferson Fire Department.

The New Jersey State Police Troop “B” Criminal Investigation Office and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office are jointing conducting the investigation.