Accident Database

Report ID# 3551

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

Area man drowns on Mahoning Creek

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MAHONING TWP. - A 60-year-old Redbank Township (Clarion County, PA) man drowned Saturday after the canoe he was in capsized along Mahoning Creek. Armstrong County Coroner Robert Bower reports that Harry David Orr of Mayport Road, Redbank Township, died in the incident late Saturday afternoon. His body was recovered from the creek at 8:22 a.m. on Sunday morning. Bower said that Orr and two friends, Jason McGuire, 32, and McGuire's 11-year-old son Michael, were canoeing down Mahoning Creek when their canoe began filling up with water and capsized.

Although the canoe was new to owner Jason McGuire, he was an experienced canoer, Bower noted. For more details, see the May 25, 2011 edition of The Leader-Vindicator.

Canoeist's body found in Armstrong County

Monday, May 23, 2011

By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The body of a Clarion County man who drowned Saturday evening while canoeing down Mahoning Creek in Armstrong County with friends was found by search teams Sunday morning. Harry David Orr, 60, of Redbank, was found at 8:22 a.m. Sunday and pronounced dead at the scene on Mahoning Creek, according to Armstrong County Coroner Robert Bower, who ruled the death accidental.

According to Mr. Bower's report, Mr. Orr and two friends, Jason McGuire, 32 and his son, Michael McGuire, 11, launched Mr. McGuire's new canoe at approximately 5:30 p.m. from the "Furnace," a well-known landmark south of Mahoning Dam. The river was running high and fast because the dam was releasing water collected from recent heavy rains. About a half-hour into their trip they encountered choppy water and the bow of the canoe dipped under water on several occasions, causing it to fill up and eventually capsize. All three occupants of the canoe had begun the ride wearing life jackets, but Mr. Orr and Mr. McGuire, who was an experienced canoeist, had removed theirs before the canoe capsized.

After the canoe overturned, according to the coroner's report, Mr. McGuire said he swam to his son, who was wearing a life jacket and then swam to the capsized canoe and tried to push it toward Mr. Orr who was struggling to grab his life jacket, which was floating on the water. Mr. McGuire then turned to his son and together they swam to the riverbank. Mr. McGuire got out of the water and followed the riverbank for more than 2 miles searching for Mr. Orr and calling his name, eventually reaching the village of Putneyville where Mr. McGuire lives and where he called 911 for help at about 7 p.m. Emergency crews that included police, firefighters and other rescuers from Distant, Dayton, New Bethlehem, Templeton, Shippenville, Punxsutawney and Falls Creek worked for several hours Saturday night before suspending the search around 10 p.m. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is investigating.

Don Hopey: or 412-263-1983. Read more:

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