herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Irish student (20) drowns after raft tragedy while on US work holiday

A 20-YEAR-OLD Irish student has drowned while on a working holiday in the US.

The young man was rafting on the Delaware river in New York on Saturday afternoon when he got into difficulty.

Pals reported that he went under while swimming alongside the raft and a search was launched immediately.

His body was recovered yesterday around 40ft from the bank. The area where the accident occurred is known as Knight's Eddy near Lumberland in Sullivan County.

According to Ranger Kevin Reish, the man ran into trouble while swimming beside a raft carrying colleagues in the area of the Kittatinny "staircase" rapids. He was not wearing a life jacket at the time.

Another person on the raft, who jumped into the water with an unsecured life jacket to rescue him, also got into trouble. He was saved by a passing raft just as he secured his life vest.

The victim was on a student work visa from Ireland.

At the time of the drowning, the water level had risen to 7ft – 4ft above average – due to heavy rains on Thursday and Friday, officials said.

The turbulent water also had churned up the river, affecting visibility underwater during the search they said.

"The river is running strong and muddy," said Town of Lumberland fire chief Eric Robles.

He said Lumberland rescuers were joined by the Sullivan County dive team, and local fire departments, as well as the National Park Service.

During the search, the body of a man who had been reported missing on the river six weeks ago was also found.

The man is the third confirmed drowning this summer in the middle and upper sections of the Delaware River.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is offering consular assistance to the family of the man.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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