Accident Database

Report ID# 35898

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

Woman dies in Lehigh River

Published August 08. 2018 12:14PM

Carbon County Coroner Robert Miller said that Rosa Spadaro, 67, of Philadelphia was rafting on the Lehigh River Sunday near the area where Route 895 crosses the Lehigh when she went into the water.


She was pulled out by crews at the boat launch in Bowmanstown.

He said officials weren’t sure if she had a heart attack or drowned but an autopsy performed on Tuesday ruled out a heart attack.

Results from the autopsy are still pending, Miller said.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission are investigating.

On August 5th a 67 year old woman and her husband were rafting the Lehigh River below Jim Thorpe, PA when they fell into the water from a pinned raft. They yelled for help. A lifeguard who was a guest on this trip (in a neighboring boat) also fell out of his raft but swam to the couple. The tripleader, who was also the safety boater, reached the pair seconds in a whitewater kayak.

Together they floated through the dissipating wave train of Class I Bowmanstown Rapid, and within 30 seconds were in fast-moving Flat water. Witnesses say she was not underwater after falling out of the raft. She may have taken a little water, but she was very vocal the entire way. She was panicking, and fighting her husband and the lifeguard. The four of them were pushed towards the takeout eddy by the safety kayaker and floated into the calm waters of the eddy. About 15 feet from shore, she lost consciousness.

She was quickly taken to the neighboring shoreline. She had a pulse but was not breathing. Rescue breathing followed, then at the next pulse check guides determined that  the pulse had faded. 911 was called by a truck crew member from another company as they floated into the eddy, so professional EMS was on scene in the single-digit minute range. Guides did full CPR on her until the ambulance crew arrived and took over.


Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!