Police: Jesus Ortega, of Castle Hill, drowns in Long Island Sound

Jesus Ortega was pronounced dead after being pulled from the waters of the Long Island Sound near SUNY Maritime College. (6/29/14)

THE BRONX - A man drowned during a late-night fishing trip in the Long Island Sound after leaping from a boat with his friend.

Jesus Ortega, a 46-year-old Castle Hill resident, was unconscious when rescuers pulled him from the water near SUNY Maritime College on Pennyfield Avenue in Throggs Neck.

Police say Ortega and his 53-year-old friend jumped overboard at around 11:40 p.m. Friday because they were afraid an oncoming craft would hit them. The two crafts never collided, and Ortega's friend made it back to the boat fine.

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The victim's stepson, Elwin Betancourt, says the fishing trip was part of his stepfather's daily routine, and he went shortly after work. He also says his father, who was a veteran, believed water safety was paramount, and would not let anyone near the water without a life jacket.

Ortega's mother says he had gone fishing with the same friend many times prior to the incident. The victim posted a photo on Facebook a little more than an hour before he was found in the water.

Ortega was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center. The medical examiner is working to determine the exact cause of death.

A co-worker says Ortega was a great guy and was good at his job at Linear Lighting Corp. in Queens.

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