A fun family trip down the Delaware River this past Saturday, turned into a nightmare, when one of the groups four rafts hit the Route 590 Lackawaxen Bridge. Three children and one adult were thrown from the vessel as water rapidly swallowed the raft that later became stuck on rocks that surround the bridge.
The current took them into the Delaware River nearby where they were rescued by the National Park Service. The family members were each wearing life jackets.
Upper Delaware Park Rangers Kevin Reish and Ron Babus were just launching a routine patrol when they heard the cries for help. The rangers rescued the children and mother, who was put on oxygen and later taken to Bon Secures Community Hospital.
The trip was the family's first down the river and the shaken father, Mark Fetzer simply said, "never again."
Although the river can't officially be closed, Ranger Susie Kasper said the park service can, "strongly discourage," people from going on the river.
Saturday morning, at the Barryville gage, the river was measured at 6.23 feet. When water levels reach 6 feet, it is mandatory for all to wear life jackets.
Reish said that when the river is at elevated levels, people need to, "exercise caution because currents are swift." Self rescues, he said, "are difficult at best."
The primary cause of drownings, he said is the result of people not wearing life jackets. Since 1980, there have been 63 drownings, to which Reish said were the result of people not wearing life jackets. There has never been a drowning where people were wearing a life jacket.
There were five drownings in 2011, which Reish said were mainly men between the ages of 18 and 30 years of age. Because of the number of drownings, the park was able to secure funds to start a water safety campaign in 2012.
For further information visit http://www.nps.gov/upde/index.htm.
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