DEER PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The search for a father and son from Queens who went missing on a rafting trip upstate came to a tragic end Monday afternoon.
Authorities announced the bodies of Marco and Marcos Avila were discovered three miles from where they went missing after an intense 48-hour search which effort focused on the area surrounding Deer Park, New York.
Responders from 25 state and local agencies worked every daylight hour since noon Saturday, searching along the shoreline and in the Neversink River for the missing father and son.
“It’s always been a search effort, until a body is recovered then it becomes a recovery,” said New York State Police Captain Jennifer Gottstine. “We were all holding out home that it would be a positive result in the search.”
On day three, all hope was dashed when spotters in a helicopter spied a body submerged in the river. Searchers removed it, and a short time later spotted the second body nearby.
Nine-year-old Marcos was rafting in the river with his cousin at the Oakland Valley Campground when their raft flipped. 46-year-old Marco rescued his nephew, but when he returned to the water to help his son the rain-swollen current swept them both downstream.
The father and son are said to have been regular visitors of the campground.
“They’ve experience the river before but could be difficult to stand up in,” said New York State forest ranger Captain Stephen Scherry. “Saturday’s rain, you couldn’t stand out here. So it was a different river for them, new to them.”
Members of the Avila family left the command post guarded by a state trooper.
“They’re doing well as to be expected but they’re devastated for the loss of their family members,” said Capt. Gottstine.
State police and forest rangers say the tragedy should serve as an opportunity to review water safety protocol with children. The victims were not wearing life jackets, which are strongly recommended and in some cases mandated on rivers and lakes.