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Rafters rescued from the Lehigh River

  • Some of the girls rescued from the Lehigh River. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published August 13. 2018 07:29PM

Emergency crews have pulled more than 40 rafters from the Lehigh River tonight.

Pat Mriss, Lehighton fire chief, said they were called out to the river at 5:30 p.m., for reports of multiple rafts piled up in the area of McCall bridge.

About 46 people were rescued as part of a group who were rafting with the outfitter  Whitewater Rafting Adventures in Nesquehoning. All are members of a  church camp in New York and were whitewater rafting.

The group members were pulled out between the McCall bridge at Route 209 and 443 and the Turnpike bridge, which goes over the Lehigh at Route 895.

“Right now we’re just checking that everyone is accounted for at this point,” Mriss said.

Mriss said there was one person transported to hospital with minor injury. No fatalities have been reported.

As far as social media reports of 150 unaccounted for, Mriss said those were earlier numbers reported. He did not confirm that.

The Lehighton water rescue team was on scene, along with other water rescue teams from several counties. Crews have reported covering the area from 895 north to Packerton, while others are south to the 873 bridge.

Five boats were in the river, with more on the way. A state police helicopter  and a chopper from Fort Indiantown Gap were flying over the river to find any stranded rafters. Dive teams from Walnutport and Ryan Township were also on scene.

The search was extended to Jim Thorpe, where it was first reported some rafters were in distress.

The search has been called off. 



Sending this large group of inexperienced rafters down a swollen river after torrential downpours seems a tad bit askew.
Thank God everyone is okay. It's scary that anyone was on the river yesterday.

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