Fifth river drowning makes this year second-most deadly on Delaware

Bushkill. Newark man drowns while swimming in Delaware River near the Coppermine Trail parking area.

05 Aug 2020 | 04:25

A drowning that happened on Sunday makes this the second-deadliest year for drownings in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

At 4:25 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, park rangers and dive team members from the National Park Service recovered the body of a 25-year-old Newark, N.J., man from the Delaware River. The victim was swimming near the Coppermine parking area off Old Mine Road in Warren County, N.J.

The park’s emergency communications center received a call from the Monroe County Control Center, which had received multiple calls of a swimmer in distress and a potential drowning at 3:50 p.m. River patrol rangers were on scene within minutes and located the man’s body in the water at 3:55 p.m.

The Coppermine parking area along Old Mine Road is a parking area for the Coppermine hiking trail just across the street. It is not a designated swimming area, but swimming is not prohibited there. It is a popular fishing area because of the easy access to the river.

The victim’s name is not being released at this time pending notification of family members.

A deadly year

This the fifth drowning in the past six weeks:

• June 21: A 20-year-old man drowned while attempting to swim across the Delaware River at Milford Beach.

• July 18: A 51-year old tuber slipped out of his inner-tube and under the water.

• July 20: A 32-year man lost his life while swimming at Bushkill Access on July 20

• July 26: a 30-year old man drowned while swimming in the river near the Karamac parking area.

In 1999, there were six drownings in the park, the most of any year since the park began keeping records in the early 1970s. Out of more than 100 drownings in the park during that period, not a single victim was wearing a properly fitted and fastened life jacket.

The National Park Service reminds all river users to always wear a properly fitted and fastened U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while swimming, floating, fishing, or boating on the Delaware River.

“The river current is strong and swift, despite calm appearances in some areas, and the depth can change suddenly, often going from knee-deep to over-your-head in a single step,” said Chief Ranger Eric Lisnik. “Wearing a life jacket at all times is a simple thing that everyone can do to ensure a fun and safe day on, and in, the river.”