Man drowns near Glen
A New York man drowned while rafting in the Lehigh River on Saturday about halfway between Glen Onoko and Glen Haven Junction, at mile marker 113 on the Lehigh Gorge Trail.
Carbon County Coroner Robert W. Miller Jr. said Christopher Santana, 33, was rafting with a group of nine people when he went into the water a little before 1 p.m.
Jim Thorpe Fire Department, Lehigh & Lausanne Rural Volunteer Fire Company Lehighton Fire Department’s dive team responded.
“We were told he was sitting on edge of the raft, which hit a rock and he was thrown off,” Miller said.
Santana’s foot became wedged in a rock, trapping him, according to officials.
Lehigh & Lausanne Rural Volunteer Fire Company chief Timothy E. Rossman said emergency crews were dispatched at about 1 p.m. Saturday.
Initially, firefighters understood a 5-year-old had fallen out of a raft.
“But when we got there, it was determined to be a 33-year old male,” Rossman said.
Rossman and Jim Thorpe Fire Department Chief Vince Yaich both said the man’s foot had become caught in rocks.
“The water there is about 4 feet deep. Several people, family and guides, tried to get him, but they couldn’t get him loose,” he said. “He was visible from the shore line, but was under the water, and had had a very long extended down time. We had (Lehighton Fire Department’s) dive team come in.
“We strung ropes across the river with the help of the rafting company, commandeered a raft, and retrieved the gentleman from the water,” he said.
“By the time we got out there, and located him, it was a recovery effort,” Yaich said.
“Jim Thorpe Fire Department and Lehigh and Lausanne assisted the divers with ropes and anything else they needed for the recovery,” he said.
Yaich said the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission is in charge of the investigation because it happened on a waterway.
The man was rafting with Pocono Whitewater, Yaich said. “We really can’t say much at this time because the Fish & Boat Commission is doing its investigation,” said Sierra Fogal, guide manager for business.
Rossman, who had heard that rafting guides may have asked the man to keep his feet in the raft, had a word of advice for rafters.
“Listen to your river guides when you are out on rafting trips. It may save your life,” he said.