Accident Database

Report ID# 1095

  • Flush Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Near Drowning
  • Cold Water
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description


It was a cold, windy morning along they SchuylkillRiver on March 31, 1992. At the Philadelphia Canoe Club building near the mouth of the Wissahickon, Jack Burnard, the caretaker, awoke to find a police cruiser parked outside. He found the officer in the backyard, staring at the swollen SchuylkillRiver . The officer said two men had flipped somewhere upstream. Rescue crews and news cameras had been following them for forty-five minutes, and he wasn’t sure if the two guys were still conscious.

Jack fired up his motor launch, then he and the officer proceeded upriver. Within minutes they found the two men,  so hypothermic they had to be lifted into the boat. An ambulance was called to the Canoe Club, and the two men were taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia. One man spent the night in the hospital, but both have recovered fully from their ordeal. (Jack is a great riverman and a skilled powerboat operator. Those guys were lucky he was there.)

The police marine unit arrive almost fifteen minutes after the victims were loaded into the ambulance, and would still have needed to launch their boat and find the men. It is doubtful that either of them would have live.

SOURCE: Philadelphia Canoe Club CaNews by Rod Cavanaugh

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