Body found in lake after ATV accident

Posted: February 06, 2014

WOODLAND TWP. It was a balmy Sunday afternoon, in the 50s, when Philip Raimondo and two other ATV drivers trekked across an 88-acre lake deceptively covered in ice.

Raimondo drove about 400 yards from shore, the accompanying drivers told New Jersey state police, when terror struck. The ice began to crack. Raimondo, screaming for help, began to sink. He resurfaced moments later, slicing through ice to swim to shore, police said.

Then he plunged for good.

On Tuesday afternoon, after a search hampered by heavy snow and freezing temperatures, dive teams found what they believed to be Raimondo's body. Raimondo, 25, of Medford, was 250 yards from the shore, nearly 25 feet below the surface, police said.

The incident near Route 70 in rural Woodland Township, Burlington County, was first reported to police around 5:15 p.m. Sunday. Rescuers were unable to find Raimondo that night and had to cancel search efforts Monday as heavy snow and cold temperatures thickened ice on the lake.

Divers returned around 8 a.m. Tuesday and found the body around 1:30 p.m.

The lake is private property, owned by a group called Ward Sand & Materials, said state police Sgt. First Class Gregory Williams. Ward officials could not be reached. Raimondo and the other ATV drivers were not permitted to be on the lake, which has "No Trespassing" signs nearby, Williams said.

"It is an area that is heavily violated," Williams said, "because it is a large wooded area."

The ATV drivers with Raimondo were not expected to face charges for trespassing.

The body was turned over to the Burlington County Coroner's Office for an autopsy.

856-779-3829 @borenmc

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