NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A fishing trip ended in tragedy for one Bronx family on Friday night.
Shortly before midnight, the NYPD Harbor Unit responded to a call of a man in the water near the Long Island Sound and the Stepping Stone Lighthouse off City Island in the Bronx.
Upon arrival police said they found a 53-year-old man inside of a 2003 Lowe boat, who was rescued without injury.
Police also discovered a man, later identified as 46-year-old Jesus Ortega, of the Bronx, unconscious and unresponsive in the water. Ortega was rushed to Jacobi Hospital by EMS, where he was pronounced dead.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, Ortega’s grieving family is trying to make sense of what they can only describe as senseless.
“I just want to get down to the bottom of what happened; the truth,” said Ortega’s stepson Elvin Betantourt.
Around 10 p.m. Friday the avid fisherman had proudly posted a photo to Facebook of the striped bass he had just caught. He also called his wife, telling her to prepare for a feast, Burrell reported.
Less than two hours later, he was dead.
“He died doing what he loved to do,” Betantourt said.
Police said the men had been in their boat with the anchor down when they saw a larger boat coming toward them. Investigators said the men panicked, thinking the boat was going to crash into them, so they jumped into the water, 1010 WINS reported.
The vessel, however, did not hit their boat.
Ortega’s friend managed to swim back to the boat, but Ortega went under and never surfaced, Burrell reported.
“When they finally found him, he drowned,” Betantourt said.
Back at the Castle Hill Houses in the Bronx, where Ortega grew up and lived, friends like Ray Capo were stunned by the news.
“He’s a great fisherman. I still got fish in the refrigerator that he caught,” Capo said.
Now, friends and family only have fond memories, not only of his daily fishing excursions and the image of him carrying around his pet chihuahua on his shoulder, but also of his kindness.
“He’s the type of guy to give you the shirt off his back,” one friend said.
“He was great. He was a great guy,” another friend said.
Ortega’s family is now hoping to hear from the friend who was with him to get a better understanding of how the man who they said was a good swimmer, died in the waters he knows so well.
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