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Delaware drowning victim third this season

July 28, 2011

NARROWSBURG, NY — The search for 18-year-old volunteer boy scout leader, Daniel Rak, concluded on Thursday afternoon when divers from the Port Jervis Volunteer Fire Department located the young man’s body in the Delaware River in the vicinity of the Number 9 railroad bridge near the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in the Town of Tusten.

Rak is the third drowning victim in the Upper Delaware River region this season. According to National Park Service chief ranger, Joe Hinkes, Rak was swimming with two other young men on the evening of July 27 when he may have been pulled under the water by strong currents. Attempts to save him were unsuccessful.
Multiple emergency units were involved in the search from both New York and Pennsylvania. A helicopter, an airboat and other watercraft were deployed in efforts to locate Rak. At one point, 28 trained divers searched the river.

The National Park Service was the lead agency for the investigation. Hinkes expressed gratitude for the exceptional cooperation of all the agencies and individuals involved in the effort. “It’s critical that things go safely and in a professional manner during situations like this,” he said. “These are amazing people to work with.”

William Kelly, spokesman for the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America, said that organization is staying in close contact with Rak’s family. “Today is an extremely difficult day for our entire scouting family,” he said. “We are still trying to understand what happened.”

Kelly said that safety has always been an established aspect of the scouting program. “We build tomorrow’s leaders through outdoor programs that teach those skills. We’re proud of our safety record and scouting leaders that work tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of all and will continue to improve our guidelines and procedures.”