The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 5, 2013

Rescuers save boater, but three other area swimmers die in water accidents

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

SUNBURY — SUNBURY - Rescue workers prevented a possible boating tragedy late Thursday afternoon near the Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam, but three swimmers in neighboring areas lost their lives during the holiday.

Two people drowned in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River near Lock Haven, while a New York State man died in a stripping pit known as Big Blue Lake in Locust Gap, Northumberland County.

The rescue near the Bower Dam, also know as the Fabridam, occurred when a boater’s motor quit and his anchor became stuck at the base of a pier of the Veterans Memorial Bridge between Sunbury and Shamokin Dam, according to a Shamokin Dam firefighter. The disabled boat and its passengers were towed to safety.

A representative of the Upper Augusta Fire Company, which headed the rescue, could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, officials in Clinton County told The Associated Press that a man and woman drowned after venturing out on the rain-swollen river on flotation devices and were swept over a small dam.

Officials said the accident was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday between Lock Haven and Woodward Township.

Mike Fetzer, assistant chief of the Dunnstown Fire Company, said three people were using flotation devices and apparently became caught in the current of the river, which is running high after recent rains, and were swept over the dam.

Fetzer said the bodies of a man and woman were later recovered and they were pronounced dead by the county coroner. He said a kayaker rescued the third person, who was taken to a hospital. The victim’s condition was not immediately available.

In Locust Gap, officials said Benjamin Taus, 24, of West Babylon, N.Y., died after jumping from a rock ledge into a water-filled abandoned stripping pit. The accident was reported by the victim’s brother just before 3 p.m. Scuba diving teams recovered Taus’ body around 5 p.m.