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Accident Description


Bowmanstown, PA  Morning Call

Girl, 10, Rescued After Being Trapped Underwater During Rafting Trip

A Sat.(8-19) rafting trip on the Lehigh River in Carbon Co. nearly ended in tragedy when a 10-y/o girl was trapped underwater and lost consciousness. The girl was rescued by another member of the rafting party - a paramedic who administered emergency breathing.

Scott Christman, a waterways conservation officer with the Penn. Fish and Boat Comm., gave this account: The girl was on 1 of 3 large inflatable rafts making their way along the river near Bowmanstown shortly after 3 p.m. The lead raft hit a ''strainer'' - a tree limb or other debris jutting from the water - and was hit by the 2nd raft, which carried 9 people, including the girl. The 3rd raft then hit the 2nd, causing it to capsize. All the rafters were wearing flotation devices, but the girl was caught in the strainer and held underwater.

The paramedic extricated and revived the girl. She was taken to Palmerton Hos. for observation, along with an adult woman who suffered a cut on the head when she fell into the water. Christman would not release the names of the victim or the other rafters, but said the outing was a family affair and the girl and woman are from NY state.Christman, who is based in Carbon Co., said the increasing popularity of rafting has resulted in a dramatic increase in rescues. This was the 9th such incident his agency has responded to since the end of June.

The girl had wasa breathing on her own when she was put in anbulance and has recovered fully, according to a river guide who was there.