Swimmer drowns in river near Muncy

MUNCY — A Montour County man drowned Saturday night while swimming in the Susquehanna River along River Road in Muncy Creek Township, according to Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. and the state police.

The man’s identity had not yet been released as of Sunday night, but police said he was in his late 30s and believed to be from the Danville area. However, officials said he had three different addresses.

“He was out in the middle of the river. A person on the shore saw him start to struggle in the water and went out in an attempt to reach him, but he was not able to get to him,” Cpl. Brandon Schrawder, a patrol supervisor at the Montoursville barracks, said.

A husband-wife seeing someone in the water was in trouble, immediately went out to get him in their pontoon boat, Schrawder said. The victim was floating face-down in the water, he added. The couple attempted at first to load him onto the boat, but he was too heavy, Schrawder said.

Wasting little time, the husband managed to pull the man close to 30 to 40 yards to shore, Schrawder said. People on the shore began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the victim.

Muncy Area volunteer firefighters and a UPMC Muncy paramedic were dispatched to 1500 block of River Road — about 2.5 miles south of here — for a water rescue with a possible drowning victim about 8:20 p.m. Emergency personnel took over performing CPR and tried for at least 30 minutes to revive him, but were unsuccessful, according to Jerold Ross, the county’s chief deputy coroner, said. He pronounced the victim dead at the scene. He said this was the first drowning in the county this summer.

“Witnesses on the shore had watched him floating and swimming in the water (without any difficulty) for at least an hour,” Ross said of the victim. What caused the man to drown was unknown.

Schrawder said he was told that while much of the river near the shore is only about four feet deep, “there is a channel where it suddenly drops off and the river becomes much deeper.”

Logan Laidecker, an assistant Muncy Area fire chief, said a fire boat from his company and two others from Clinton Township searched the water for more than an hour, looking for anyone else in the water. Firefighters also looked for any floating devices and personal items belonging to the victim that might help state police identify who he was. No such belongings were located, Laidecker said.

The man has no identification on him at all, and it wasn’t until early Sunday morning that officials were able to determine his identity through various means, police said. While some relatives have been notified, investigators were still working Sunday night to reach others, Ross said. The victim’s identity was expected to be released later today.


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