National Park

New Jersey boy drowns in Delaware River in second river death of year at national park – The Morning Call

Members of the National Park Service dive team at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area found the body of a teenager in the Delaware River around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the park service.

The boy, from Elizabeth, New Jersey, was swimming at the Ames-Jennings site, a small picnic area along the river on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, when family members saw him diving around 2:15 a.m., the park service said in a statement.

The park service did not release further details about the boy.

This is the second drowning in the park this year. Christopher Schofield, 23, of Stroudsburg was swimming with friends in late June when he drowned.

“Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the victims of these tragic incidents,” Dustin Gunderson, dive team leader, said in the press release.

First responders from Blue Ridge Rescue Squad, Sandyston Township Volunteer Fire Department, Bushkill Volunteer Fire Department, Bushkill EMS, New Jersey State Police and Sussex County participated looking and retrieving on Sunday.

The press release says 103 people have drowned in the park since 1971, nearly two-thirds of them while swimming. Twenty-four percent of all drownings occurred during the last 2 weeks of July when temperatures and visitation are high.

The Delaware River has a fast current and an irregular bottom, the park service said. In addition to wearing a life jacket, park rangers and emergency service providers suggest people stay close to shore; avoid swimming near the rapids; swim on supervised beaches; and always designate someone to supervise all members of their group who are in the water, especially children. The park service provides free life jackets that kids can use to swim at Milford, Smithfield, and Turtle beaches.