Accident Database

Report ID# 4020

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Near Drowning
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

From River Clean up to River Rescue

Pocono Volunteers Save Drowning Man's Life

Published 07/21 2015 04:26PM

Delaware River, New Jersey – Two employees from Adams Outdoor Advertising signed up to help save the Delaware River from litter. They ended up saving lives. Sal Lombardo and Joshua Turner work for Adams Outdoor Advertising. They represented the company in the Kittatinny Canoes Delaware River clean up Monday. They were cleaning at the Butler’s Rift Rapids (north of Cherry Island) when they saw a canoe carrying a father and son tip."Your instinct just kicked in,” said Turner. They rushed to help. Turner grabbed the boy who was wearing a life jacket. Lombardo recalled, "The young boy was yelling very loud, 'help my dad.' We saw him and he was going under very fast."

Lombardo pulled up the boy’s father, who was not wearing a life jacket. He said, "When I got to him, he was lifeless. He wasn't breathing. He was unconscious." They pulled the man onto a flat rock. "We're sliding in the mud and it was just a very chaotic scene at that point,” recalled Turner. The man’s wife and other son were boating in another canoe. They got out. The wife helped Turner perform CPR.

They revived the victim and flagged down a raft. Lombardo said, "We're screaming at these people, 'Hey, we need help, we need help” and they came over with their raft. We commandeered their raft." The couldn’t call 911. Lombardo explained, "There was no cell phone service and there was a sheer cliff on either side of the river with rapids." The rescuers got the victim onto the raft to head for help while other boaters rushed forward to find reception. Eventually rescue boats caught up with them and helped get the victim safely to a hospital. Turner said, "It sort of makes you take a step back and realize, you know, life is short." Both rescuers say don’t call them heroes. "We just happened to be fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and we're very thankful that we were,” reflected Lombardo. A park service representative told the men the victim is still in a New Jersey hospital but getting better. His name has not been officially released. Both rescuers stressed that everyone on the river should wear life jackets and added it’s a good idea for everyone to get CPR training.

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