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Accident Description


[NPS Morning Report] Upper Delaware S&RR Man Survives Near Drowning In Delaware River

On the afternoon Saturday, July 26th, rangers responded to a non-fatal drowning, often referred to as a near drowning, that occurred at Staircase Rapids. The victim was a young man who’d entered the water to swim from one raft to another. He was not wearing a life jacket and according to his companions was intoxicated. A man in the raft that the victim was swimming toward saw him struggling in the water. He did not know the victim (they had only met that day), but asked others in the raft who did know him if they thought he was alright or needed help. They said that he was okay and that he knew how to swim. The man in the raft saw the victim's head bob under the water, though, and believed, correctly, that he was in the process of drowning. He entered the water, wearing his life jacket, swam to the victim and brought him to the Pennsylvania shoreline.

The victim was conscious but displaying an altered mental state; it is unclear if this was due to the drowning or intoxication or a combination of both. The rescuer then swam back across the river to the New York shoreline and ran to Kittatinny Canoes' Staircase Rapids base and had them call 911. Park protection rangers responded via patrol boat along with local police constables and fire and EMS personnel. Lumberland Volunteer Fire Department's boat was first on scene and took the victim to the ambulance that was waiting at Kittatinny Canoe's base. The victim was transported to Bon Secours Hospital in Port Jervis, where he was treated and released.