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New Jersey Reservoir Swallows Boaters, Fishermen


By James Donahue

March 2006


After the mysterious disappearances of six people since it was created in 1965, local residents have dubbed the Round Valley Reservoir the New Jersey Bermuda Triangle.


A total of 25 people have drowned in the 175-foot-deep reservoir, but most of the bodies were recovered. These six have simply “gone missing” and authorities have been searching for some trace of them for over 30 years.


The strange disappearances began on May 4, 1973 when two fishermen, Thomas Trimblett and Christopher Zajaczkowski went missing while angling from a 12-foot aluminum boat. The boat was found capsized. A broken fishing pole and reel, a wooden oar and two yellow life jackets were found with the boat. No trace of the two men was ever found.


In the spring of 1977, two Trenton men, Craig Stier and Andrew Fasanella, went missing while canoeing along the north shoreline of the reservoir. The canoe was found washed ashore with some camping gear still in it.


Fisherman John Kubu disappeared in March, 1989 while fishing from a 13-foot aluminum boat. A companion, Albert Lawson also drowned that day, but his body was found a few months later. The boat and some personal items were also found drifted up to shore. They are still searching for Kubu.


The most recent disappearance involved two men that got into trouble while canoeing in October, 1993. One of the men was rescued by a passing boater but Jeffrey Moore disappeared in the water after the canoe took on water. He was never found.


An Associated Press news story noted that an especially dry period and the lack of snowfall this winter has caused the water level of the massive 2,350-acre man-made lake to drop eight feet from its normal level. This prompted a renewed search for some sign of the missing six boaters. Nothing was found.


The Round Valley Reservoir, in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, was created by the construction of two dams and a dike that close off gaps in a natural horseshoe shaped valley. It holds an estimated 55 billion gallons of water and is an integral part of a massive water supply system linked to two other reservoirs. The whole complex is part of a public water supply system serving central New Jersey.


Because the Round Valley Reservoir is so deep, officials say that it is never drained. Thus the prospects of finding any trace of the missing bodies are poor.

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