Accident Database

Report ID# 3767

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

Kayaker from Beach Lake Still Missing

June 17, 2013

by Amanda Kelley

PIKE COUNTY – Crews in Pike County say a rescue mission for a kayaker has now turned into a recovery mission. Sean “Chauncey” Martin of Beach Lake went missing Friday afternoon after his kayak overturned on the Lackawaxen River at Kimbles Falls. Martin was kayaking with a friend along a route he had traveled many times.

All weekend, volunteers and crews from Pennsylvania and New York searched for any signs of Martin. “We had probably about six or seven boats on the water, probably about 70 to 80 people along the shore and in the woods, searching for the gentleman,” said Lt. Vito Manzione, Forest Fire Department. People who live close to the river say conditions were treacherous. “It was a raging boil is the way I’d describe it. The water level was a good four, five feet higher than it is right now,” said Michael Raftery of Palmyra Township.

Chauncey Martin grew up in Beach Lake and was part of the band Tried To Reason. His fellow band members say Martin was an experienced kayaker. “They took that trip had to be 30, 40 times not once ever thinking their life was in danger and just, they’ve been in even higher waters than even that day,” said band member Eddie Seber. After spending days looking for Martin in the Lackawaxen River, crews had to call off the search due to high water levels.

Crews in that area of Pike County say this mission is now a recovery, a first on this part of the river. “It was very upsetting, and that’s why we had full crew. I’m pretty proud of the guys. Everybody came down to help, because everybody was looking to give closure to the family,” said Lt. Manzione. Friends of the musician from Beach Lake say they’re still praying for the best. “Chauncey, we miss you. Hopefully this turns out for the best, and it’s not the case that you’re gone. We love you and if you are gone, we just hope you’re watching over us, man,” said Seber. The Fish and Boat Commission say it’s had similar incidents along other waterways due to high water levels. Officers are asking boaters and kayakers to be careful.

Body found in Delaware River identified as missing kayaker

Posted: Aug 12, 2013 12:00 PM EDT

The body of a Pa. man who had gone kayaking June 14 in the Lackawaxen River was found Saturday in Montague. The body of a Pa. man who had gone kayaking June 14 in the Lackawaxen River was found Saturday in Montague. B


MONTAGUE — Nearly two months after a kayaker went missing on the Lackawaxen River, his “heavily decomposed” body was found downstream by fishermen near the Mashipacong Island on the Delaware River, according to New Jersey State Police. Sean D. Martin, 29, of Beach Lake, Pa., was reported missing after his kayak capsized on June 14 on the river in Hawley, Pa., Sgt. Gregory Williams said.

On Saturday at 7:13 p.m., kayakers who were fishing near the Montague island discovered a body, shirtless and wearing camouflage pattern shorts. The grim discovery drew a response from the Westfall (Pa.) Fire Department Marine Unit, National Park Service and Pike County (Pa.) Sheriff’s Department. The body was taken to the Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office, which shares services with Sussex County, where Dr. Carlos Fonseca performed an autopsy on Monday. A state police detective and Fonseca identified the body as that of Martin based on the multiple tattoos and information provided by the family. The next of kin was notified Monday. Williams said that “no trauma and nothing of a suspicious nature” was found.

Williams said it was unclear if Martin had been wearing a personal flotation device or if his kayak was ever recovered. The Lackawaxen River where Martin was kayaking is fed by Lake Wallenpaupack, a reservoir created by Pennsylvania Power & Light Company (PPL) for hydroelectric purposes. The river then flows into the Delaware River. Ryan Hill, a spokesman for PPL said that on June 13 and 14 the hydroelectric plant was “generating,” which does cause the water to flow higher in the river and lake. The water level in the Lackawaxen River rose around midnight June 13 from about 3.5 feet to about 7.5 feet by morning June 14. The water then receded slightly on June 15, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey. The area also received about 1.4 inches of rain from the morning of June 13 to the early hours of June 14, the data says. “The waters were very treacherous (that day),” Williams said.

With summer in full swing, there have been multiple drownings and near drownings on the Delaware River, leading officials to remind people about safety precautions such as wearing a personal flotation device and only swimming in designated areas.

A week earlier, a Summit man, Gary West, 38, drowned after falling off an inner tube with his daughter in Knowlton. The 14-year-old daughter made it to shore, but West did not resurface. His body was recovered three days later about 35 miles downstream in Frenchtown. A 51-year-old Brooklyn man Juan Roberto Salomon Delacruz drowned July 20 in the Delaware River near Kittatinny Point on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. He had been swimming and picnicking with family members.

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