Accident Database

Report ID# 813

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Inexperience
  • High Water

Accident Description

Water levels were also high on the Upper Delaware River, which forms the border between Pennsylvania and New York. This Class I-II float trip is very popular with first-timers. According to the National Park Service Morning Report a group of 54 high school students was rafting the section from Staircase Rapids to Matamoras, PA on June 2nd. At Butler's Rift one of their rafts capsized. Three of the four students survived. The fourth, Obinna Okoro, 17, disappeared without a trace.

Contrary to a signed agreement with the livery, Okoro had removed his life vest. Members of the Delaware River Safety Patrol, a volunteer organization, noted that many of the kids had removed their life vests and that teachers were all clustered together in one raft instead of being spread out. It apparently took the group some time to notice anyone was missing. The New York State Police was notified, and began a search by helicopter, by boat, and on foot. His body was found eight days later, six miles downstream of the accident site.

According to, Okoro could not swim and his father had not signed the school permission slip. Okoro had submitted a signed permission slip to the school, but his father said that the signature was not his.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!