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Man dies as vehicle gets swept by flooding

Published March 11. 2011 05:00PM

An elderly Schuylkill County man died Thursday when his vehicle was swept off a county road by floodwaters. He died in submerged water.

State police at Schuylkill Haven identified the victim as David H. Sallada, 74, of 29 E. Laurel St., Tremont.

Troopers said the incident occurred about 8:55 p.m. along SR645 (Geary Wolfe Road), 300 feet south of SR443, in Pine Grove Township. Troopers said Sallada, driving a Dodge Stratus, drove through a flooded portion of the road. The section of road was previously barricaded due to the flood water covering both lanes.

Sallada drove around the barricades and into the flooded roadway, troopers said. As his vehicle entered the flooded area the Dodge lost traction with the road and began to float.

Two state troopers arrived on scene along with the Ravine Fire & Rescue, and found the Dodge sinking under the floodwaters. It had been swept off the road and into the Swatara Creek.

Both troopers entered the floodwaters in an attempt to perform a water rescue. When they got to the sinking vehicle they had to perform an underwater rescue smashing out the window of the vehicle and pulling Sallada out of the car while it went underwater.

The two troopers were able to pull Sallada out of the flood water but he was already deceased.

County Coroner Joseph Lipsett pronounced Sallada dead at the scene and said despite the efforts of the two troopers the victim had already died before they were able to get him out of the car.

Lipsett said an autopsy will be performed at a later date.

The two troopers were treated for injuries sustained in the rescue effort at the Schuylkill Medical Center-S. Jackson St., Pottsville, and then released.

It was further reported that the Pine Grove area received more than three inches of rain from the storm that drenched the area from late Wednesday night into Thursday.

In addition to the Swatara Creek overflowing its banks county officials said the Schuylkill River also overflowed its banks in the Landingville area.

More flooding in the area was expected today as rivers continued to rise due to runoff water from the storm.

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