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DV Pilot police & fire

Emerson man, 25, who drowned on Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah had high intellect, compassion, varied interests

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: He was fluent in Spanish, Hindi and Urdu, worked for a company that designs devices to heal and treat spine disorders, and just last week was the best man at his brother’s wedding. Thursday afternoon, Daanish F. Khan of Emerson drowned while trying to swim across a lake on the Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah.

CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo
(INSET: Daanish F. Khan/LINKEDIN)

Khan, 25, worked the past two years as an operating-room support coordinator in the Paramus office of San Diego-based NuVasive, the fourth-largest spinal-fusion device company in the world.

“My role has been to assist, and often times, lead in the preparation of the simulated operating room lab,” Khan wrote on his LinkedIn profile. “The lab serves as a vital educational component to the company as it is used to train company personnel as well as surgeons themselves.”

His identity, reported earlier this morning on CLIFFVIEW PILOT , was confirmed by Bergen County Police.

Khan tried swimming across the MacMillan Reservoir, a restricted lake on the reservation, with a friend from Jersey City and a dog. She and the dog made it to the other side.

Witnesses told police Khan got as far as the middle of the lake, then “never saw him again,” Bergen County Police Department Lt. James Mullin told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The Bergen County Police Department Water Search & Recovery Unit went into the water with its remote-controlled underwater robot, the LBV200-4, which can dive 660 feet. The crew found the body an hour and 45 minutes later.

Mahwah Ambulance Corps Co. #1 members attended to the woman, seen in the CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo with the dog, after two BCPD detectives picked them up in a 4-wheel-drive SUV.

A 2009 Rutgers University graduate, Khan previously worked at CareOne Management, for Rutgers Center for Vector Biology and as a volunteer at St. Peter’s University Hospital.

Although he majored in biological sciences at Rutgers, he minored in history, reasoning that “a diverse education is important.”

“No Swimming” signs posted on path to reservoir (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo)

“[I] am willing to learn anything,” Khan wrote.

Indeed, he was active and well-rounded: He played intramural soccer in college and with CareOne specialized in recreational therapy for senior care residents. Khan worked at two other nursing homes before then.

While at Rutgers he studied how mosquito larvae adapt to their surroundings, in an effort to learn how to curb threats of those species that carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Chikungunya Fever.

His results were published in The Journal of Medical Entomology in May 2011.

Khan also was part of a Water Watch team out of Piscataway, observing and reporting the biological, physical, and chemical characteristics of various streams.

“I also helped to put together several educational programs and events to increase awareness of water conservation, clean water, and other issues affecting the local community, including hunger, homelessness, and higher education.”

A former colleague called him “thoughtful and caring,” respectful of both clients and colleagues, with “exceptional” patient-care abilities and a “can-do” attitude.

He devoted time to several causes, including Livestrong, Movember, Food Democracy Now!, The Humane Society of the United States, Muslims against Hunger and Habitat for Humanity.

While a senior at Emerson Junior-Senior High School, the Pakistani-American Kahn received the 2005 AIA-NJ Youth Award given by the New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Indians in America (AIA) for his “scholastic achievement and considerable involvement in extra-curricular activities.”

Among his interests, Khan cited learning languages, history, traveling, community service, soccer, running, cycling — and swimming.

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