June 1, 2011 —
The body of 71-year-old Angelo Zotto of Seldon, NY was recovered on May 30, in the Middle Delaware River near Dingman’s Ferry, PA. The body had drifted some 25 miles downstream from where Zotto fell off a raft in the Upper Delaware River in the rapids at Butlers Rift near the Hawk’s Nest two days earlier. He was discovered by boaters near the Dingman’s Ferry bridge in the Delaware Water Gap.
Authorities said Zotto was riding in an inflatable raft with his wife and a friend when he was thrown from the raft when it hit a patch or rapids. Zotto had a life preserver on the raft with him, but he was not wearing it.
The victim’s wife, who was wearing a life preserver, jumped into the water to try to save him but was unable to do so.
Zotto’s wife and the friend were rescued by passing boaters.
Teams from Port Jervis, Sparrowbush, Westfall, PA and Milford, PA and from the National Park Service searched the river near the accident site for two days. The search was made more difficult by the depth of the river, which was 5.4 feet deep at the location of the incident, about two feet deeper than normal during this time of year.
This death marks the first drowning on the Upper Delaware River this year. Last year there were no deaths on the river. According to the park service there have been 59 drownings since 1980.
National Park Service superintendent Sean McGuinness said, “It is always sad to lose a life to drowning. Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Mr. Zotto.” He added, “Please wear a life jacket and use extreme caution when swimming or boating in the Delaware River.”