Accident Database

Report ID# 1048

  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

Three camp counselors, attempting to rescue another counselor who fell or jumped into a swollen Boquet river near a popular swimming hole, drowned on Tuesday, August 12, 2003. The three saw a fellow counselor plunge into the river just downstream of Split Rock Falls. They jumped in to attempt a rescue and were swept away in class V-VI water.

When three life-long buddies from Woodmere, L.I., saw a fellow camp counselor plunge into a swirling pool at the foot of a waterfall in upstate New York, all three jumped in after him without hesitating. But instead of rescuing the pal, the three teenage heroes also were swallowed by the churning water of the Boquet River in the Adirondacks on Tuesday afternoon.

"If you go in that water, chances are you're going to get pinned in the bottom," said Charles Holter, 78. "Anyone who goes in is going to be dead in a minute." Rescuers pulled out the bodies of Adam Cohen and Jordan Satin, both 19, yesterday, a day after fishing the body of Jonah Richman, 18, from deadly Split Rock Falls in Elizabethtown, about 110 miles north of Albany. They also recovered the body of David Altschuler, 18, of Philadelphia, the friend they were trying to save.

Authorities said the four camp counselors - all athletic and strong swimmers - had no way of fighting the powerful "washing machine" current that sucked them to their deaths beneath an underwater rock ledge. "No one could survive this type of water," New York State Police Lt. Patrick Fonda said. "They probably didn't realize they were leaping to their death."

The tragedy draped a pall of grief in Woodmere and in neighboring Hewlett, where the three teens went to school together. They had all attended the Baco Summer Camp in upstate Minerva for a decade, first as campers, then as counselors. "Their actions speak to their character," Hewlett Mayor Mitchell Sahn said. "They would react no matter what the peril."

NY Daily News

NYS DEC Forest Rangers Raybrook, NY

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