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Elizabeth NJ teen drowns in Delaware River


WALPACK – The body of 14-year-old boy Elizabeth was found in the Delaware River early Sunday evening after his family saw him disappear below the surface earlier in the afternoon.

Officials at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area did not release the youngster’s name, but said he was out with his family near the Ames-Jennings site, a small area used for spades. picnics along the New Jersey side of the river, north of Walpak Bend and about two miles south of the “dirt section” of Old Mine Road.

Members of the National Park Service dive team at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area recovered the body around 3:30 p.m., just over an hour after the family made an emergency call indicating that family members had seen him dive underwater.

In addition to NPS emergency response teams, search and recovery operations received assistance from the Blue Ridge Rescue Squad, Sandyston Township Volunteer Fire Department, State Police from NJ and Sussex County, and the Bushkill Volunteer Fire Department and Bushkill EMS, Pennsylvania. side of the river.

This is the second drowning in the park this year. Earlier in the summer, a Pennsylvania teenager went missing while trying to swim from the Pennsylvania side of the river to the New Jersey side, just north of the Interstate 80 bridge. None of the victims were wearing of life jacket.

“Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the victims of these tragic incidents,” said Dustin Gunderson, dive team leader. “We can’t say it enough: Wearing a properly fitted and strapped life jacket is the best way for people to protect themselves when swimming in the Delaware River.”

Of 103 drownings in the park since 1971, 64% were related to swimming and none of the victims were wearing a properly fitted and fastened life jacket at the time of death. Twenty-four percent of all drownings occurred during the last two weeks of July, when temperatures are high and the region receives many visitors.

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Park officials said the Delaware River has a fast current and an irregular bottom, which allows people to suddenly get in over their heads and get caught in the fast flow below the surface.

In addition to wearing a life jacket, park rangers and emergency service providers suggest that those looking to get away from the heat near the river stay close to shore in shallower water; avoid swimming near the rapids; swim on supervised beaches; and always designate someone to supervise all members of their group who are in the water, especially children.