Body of Scuba Diver Recovered in Southeast

New Jersey man was exploring former iron mine

The body of a New Jersey man was recovered Nov. 20 by a New York State Police dive team from deep water in the former Tilly Foster iron mine in Southeast.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department said Robert Thomas, 48, of Jersey City, was reported missing on Nov. 19 after he failed to surface while scuba diving in the mine.

The state police, using sonar and cameras, located his body at a depth of 171 feet. Officers lowered a cable, attached it to the body and brought it to the surface.

Thomas was described to police as an experienced technical diver who had gone diving in the former iron mine many times. He was with two diving colleagues and went into the water at about noon.

According to the sheriff’s department, Thomas may have become entangled in wires or cables on the bottom of the flooded  shaft. The mine is filled with water ranging in depths from 175 to 600 feet, and the bottom is littered with wrecked cars and trucks, old mining equipment and other debris.

Police said an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.


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