Accident Database

Report ID# 3794

  • Flush Drowning
  • Foot Entrapment
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

Canoe capsizes, man missing

By Melissa Klaric, Sharon, PA Herald

Posted: 10/31/2013 9:00 AM

Rescue crews called off a search of the Shenango River for a 47-year-old man missing Wednesday evening after his canoe capsized shortly after 6 p.m. near the Hamburg bridge in Delaware Township. Crews will resume the search at 9:30 a.m. today. Two other people in the light blue canoe were not injured and were able to get to shore and called 911.

Transfer Fire Chief Phil Steele, who said he didn’t know the man’s name, described him as an outdoorsman-type. He said crews used scuba teams, jet ski patrols, a hovercraft, ATVs and a helicopter to search the water and both sides of the shoreline south from the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge to Hamburg Bridge. The missing man’s nephew, who declined to give his name, said his uncle was a skilled boater who frequently canoed that route. “The water at best is 50 degrees and about halfway down it gets really deep. Once a canoe capsizes, hypothermia sets in real quick,” he said.


Crews searching for man whose canoe capsized in Shenango River

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Crews have resumed searching for a 47-year-old man who disappeared when his canoe capsized on a Mercer County river Wednesday. Officials said police were called to the Shenango River in Delaware Township just after 6 p.m.

Authorities said Eric Metz's ex-wife and daughter were also in the canoe with him when it flipped, but they were able to swim to shore. “He is a great son.  He is an awesome outdoorsman.  He loves the water," said Chuck Metz, Eric's father.

Eric Metz’s family told Channel 11 that he, his ex-wife and his daughter were not wearing life preservers when the boat capsized. The Transfer Fire Chief Phil Steele said the boat hit a log, got jammed, and Eric Metz was thrown out. His parents said their emotions are running high and they are holding out hope. “If this is the way it was meant to be, this is the way it was meant to be,” said Cheryl Metz, Eric's mother.


Officials confirm identity of body found in Shenango River

TRANSFER, Pa. - Transfer fire officials confirmed Sunday that the body pulled from the Shenango River is that of Eric Metz. The canoe Metz was in with his wife and daughter overturned near the Hamburg Road bridge Wednesday evening.

Metz was found right where the canoe tipped over on the river.

The woman and their daughter made it to shore.


November 5, 2013

Friends find body of missing canoeist

SHARON — The body of a Transfer man whose canoe capsized Wednesday in the Shenango River was found Sunday morning about 300 feet from where the accident happened, authorities said.

Eric Metz, 47, of 504 Crestview Drive, was pronounced dead at 10:15 a.m. by Mercer County Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle.

McGonigle said three of Metz’s friends had found him.

An autopsy was to be done in Erie County, McGonigle said.

Metz was found in 6 to 8 feet of water by the friends, who had kept looking for him after authorities called off the search until Monday, when it was to resume, Transfer Fire Chief Phil Steele said.

The friends were dragging the river with a hook and on the second throw snagged Metz’s clothing, Steele said.

The body was found in an area that professional searchers had pored over Wednesday and Thursday, using divers, dogs and sonar, Steele said.

“The river (current) was fast,” he said. “It was not clean.”

Visibility was less than a foot and Steele said it was amazing the friends had found Metz.

“I’m glad they found him and the case for the family is closed.”

Although canoeing and kayaking in the river is popular and can be fun, Steele said, it is vital to wear a life jacket.

“It’s really dangerous,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff to get caught on. It’s treacherous.”

The accident just before 6 p.m. Wednesday near New Hamburg drew rescuers and equipment looking for Metz.

Firefighters and police, as well as relatives and friends, searched until dark both Wednesday and Thursday.

Steele described Metz as an outdoorsman who was familiar with the river and who had taken his daughter and ex-wife canoeing during the warm late afternoon.

“It capsized about a quarter-mile north of Hamburg bridge,” Steele said. “The daughter and the dad pushed the mother onto the bank after the canoe flipped over. Then the dad pushed the daughter onto the bank but he didn’t make it out himself. He went down and never came back up.”


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