BEACH LAKE  - On Friday, August 14th, a 48 year old man from Flushing, NY drowned while swimming in the Delaware River near the Ascalona Campground in the Town of Highland, NY. A group of kayakers saw the victim go under after struggling in the middle of the river.  He was not wearing a life jacket.  When the kayakers got to him, he had been under water for 30-45 seconds and was unconscious. CPR was initiated by family members and friends on the shore.  The victim was transported by American Legion Ambulance to Bon Secours Hospital before being transferred to Westchester Medical Center, where he died the following day.  The National Park Service (NPS), Yulan Fire Department, New York State Police and Highland Constables responded and provided assistance.        
“This tragic incident is a reminder of the river, of the river’s power and unexpected hazards,” said Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Superintendent Kristina Heister.  As the heat and summer sun invites more residents and visitors to cool off on and in the river, the NPS wants to share some basic water safety tips that will allow everyone to enjoy the river safely.
“The simplest thing a person can do to keep themselves safe around the river is to wear a life jacket at all times whether swimming, boating, fishing or floating,” added Heister. “The river claims an average of two drowning victims per year but no one has ever drowned while wearing a properly fitted, and fastened, life jacket.”
This drowning is the first reported in the Upper Delaware this season. There was also a drowning this summer in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Middle Delaware). If swimming or wading always in the river, people should: wear a life jacket, never swim alone and never swim across the river. More than half of the people who drowned on the Upper Delaware were swimming before they died.
The appearance of the scenic Delaware River can be deceiving. There are sudden changes in depth, powerful currents, underwater obstacles, and other conditions that can create unexpected hazards. These conditions can sweep visitors off their feet and carry downriver even the most experienced swimmers. Recreationists should pay attention to their surroundings in the river, particularly conditions that may be hazardous.
For more water safety tips and information on river conditions visit www.nps.gov/UPDE, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/updeNPS, or call 570-685-4871.