By Joe Sylvester

NORTHUMBERLAND — Authorities did not release the identity on Sunday evening of the apparent Susquehanna River drowning victim as they continued to contact family members.

First responders from multiple fire departments, including a number of scuba divers, searched the West Branch of the river in Point Township after a male reportedly jumped off of the Boy Scout boat dock adjacent to Pineknotter Park just north of the Barry King Bridge at about 4:15 p.m.

After he did not resurface and was not seen for 15 minutes, someone called 911, authorities said.

The search by water rescue crews using sonar, then the divers, took about 2 1/2 hours before the victim’s body was found.

“It was a drowning,” Point Township Sgt. Craig Lutcher said afterward. “We’re not releasing anything right now until all of the family is notified.”

Some who may have been family and friends remained at the scene during the search, some crying early on during the search.

Northumberland County Chief Deputy Coroner James Gotlob, who pronounced the victim dead at the scene, said he was trying to get in contact with the victim’s parents.

He said he did not know if an autopsy would be performed, adding he had to consult with Coroner James Kelley.

Gotlob did say he was told the water off the boat dock was 8 to 8 1/2 feet deep.

The body victim’s body was recovered at about 7:15 p.m. in the river near Pineknotter Park. Gotlob arrived at about 7:35 p.m.

Responders from Point Township, Northumberland, Sunbury, Upper Augusta Township, Shamokin Dam and Selinsgrove fire companies took part in the search, either on the water or along the river bank.

All but Point Township and Northumberland have boats, a Northumberland County dispatcher said.

Area Services Ambulance and Americus Ambulance were on standby. The Danville Fire Department set up its rehab unit tent.

Point Township and Northumberland police, state police at Stonington and conservation officers from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also were on the scene.

Several divers and boat crews were on their way to assist from Lycoming County and a boat crew was coming from Harrisburg.

Some of those dive teams were canceled before they arrived, according to the emergency services dispatcher.



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