Accident Database

Report ID# 3963

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Hypothermia
  • High Water

Accident Description

 Rescue team pulls stranded kayaker from Stonycreek River River Rescue

Members of the Cambria County Swift Water Rescue Team patrol the Stonycreek River in the Moxham section of Johnstown during an attempt to rescued a stranded kayaker on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Rescue crews pull a woman stranded on the Stonycreek River in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, June 21, 2015

By David Hurst

A kayaker was pulled to safety Sunday after she became stranded on the Stonycreek River approximately 100 yards upstream from the Ferndale Bridge. A rescue boat was able to reach the woman after she was stranded on a small river island for more than an hour and a half, according to Johnstown fire Chief Anthony Kovacic, a member of the city’s urban swift water rescue team. “She was not injured but she was taken to Memorial Medical Center as a precaution,” Kovacic said.

He said a group of four kayakers was paddling the Stonycreek through Ferndale when the woman’s boat got stuck and partially overturned. The unidentified woman was able to escape and signal for help, prompting fellow kayakers to call for aid shortly before 6 p.m. The section of the Stonycreek is often a slow-moving, leisurely paddle. But weekend storms turned it into a high, fast river Sunday evening. Both Johnstown and East Taylor Township’s boats had to overcome debris in their jet-drive engines before the East Taylor vessel made the rescue, carrying the woman to a take-out point where an ambulance was waiting.

Kovacic said the woman was not wearing a life jacket. “Safety should always be a No. 1 priority ... and when the river is like this, it can be very dangerous,” he said.

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