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Nine-year-old boy drowns in Middle Delaware


July 10, 2013

BUSHKILL, PA — Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue announced that a 9-year-old boy from Bushkill drowned in the Delaware River late in the afternoon of July 8. The boy was fishing along the shoreline just downstream from Bushkill Access with family members when he lost his footing and slipped into the current. Attempts to rescue the boy by family members and a boater who was passing by were unsuccessful.

The National Park Service’s 24-hour communications center received the emergency call at 4:32 p.m. and rangers were on the scene within one minute. The National Park Service dive team was called in and divers located and recovered the boy’s body in nine feet of water just before 6 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Pike County Coroner.

All river users are reminded that while the river may appear deceptively calm on the surface, it has strong currents, steep drop-offs, underwater obstacles and conditions that change constantly. The National Park Service (NPS) strongly recommends that anyone recreating on or near the river wear a personal flotation device(PFD) at all times.

Elsewhere on the river, a 29-year-old man was rescued from the river on July 9, after he was caught in swift currents. The man was rescued from an area of the river near Laurel Grove Cemetery in Port Jervis. Police did not immediately release the identity of the man, but he was transferred to Bon Secours hospital.

Since the 1970s more than 90 people have died in the river and none of the victims had been wearing life jackets.

Because of the recent heavy rains, the river has been running higher and swifter than usual, which prompted NPS to pass a special restriction prohibiting swimming and requiring all boaters to wear life jackets over the past holiday weekend.

[For more information on river safety and some stories of river rescues, see this story.]