nav-river-arrestA State Police officer frisks an unidentified man early Sunday morning while another shines a flashlight on him. Below, a woman who had been on one of the boats sits in an ambulance. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

rb-ambulanceA boater was missing and an unidentified man was in custody after a two-boat collision on the Navesink River between Middletown and Fair Haven late Saturday night.

More than two hours after the 11:30 p.m. crash, a massive rescue operation involving two helicopters and boats from numerous jurisdictions turned into a search for a body in the darkened river.

At dawn, however, the search boats appeared to end their task, and a phalanx of emergency vehicles parked on land departed without word about whether the missing boater had been found.

Eleven people were believed to have survived the crash, and soon came ashore at the residence of Richard Stavola on Northover Place, a loop off Navesink River Road in Middletown. According to an unconfirmed report, the missing boater was a man about 50 years old.

At about 1:45 a.m., State Police officers on the scene walked a handcuffed man in a white collared shirt and checkered shorts up the property’s long brick driveway, frisked him, and put him in a State Police truck.

Authorities were mum, however, on the reason for the arrest, as well as whatever they knew of the accident. Middletown police referred all inquiries to the State Police, which had assumed command of the operation. A State Trooper told reporters on the scene that that matter was under investigation and that they should “call headquarters Monday morning.”

A aural witness to the accident told redbankgreen what she heard and saw immediately afterward.

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