Accident Database

Report ID# 789

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Swim into Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

On June 10th Nicole Coppolino, 17, washed into a strainer while tubing on New York's Class II-III Esopus Creek. Two of her friends tried valiantly to rescue her, without success. Their shouts alerted nearby homeowners who called 911.

This was one of two deaths on Esopus Creek in two months. A year after Nicole Coppolino floated into a mass of strainers on Esopus Creek and drowned, her family filed a $5 million wrongful-death lawsuit against Elizabeth Winograd, owner of the Copper Hood Inn and Spa in Shandaken. Apparently the debris in which Ms. Coppolino had been entrapped had not been removed by the Inn.

In an editorial, the Phoenicia Times (see link) urged the town board to designate the Esopus a "navigable waterway," thus clearly absolving property owners of any liability for accidents on the creek.

According to a post on the rapid creek message board (;action=display;num=1023925716), local landowners had altered the course of the stream to prevent erosion to their property. This alteration may be part of the impetus for the lawsuit.

See also

Ms. Coppolino had been tubing on the stream. She was not wearing a PFD.

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