Officials Release Additional Details on Allegheny River Drowning

12901298_1029569020433738_8174420196217936110_o-1024x682FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Officials have released additional details on the death of a Parker man who jumped from the Foxburg bridge on Thursday night.

Clarion County Coroner Terry Shaffer identified the deceased as William D. Kelly, 26, of Parker, Armstrong County.

Clarion County 911 told exploreClarion.com the call came in at 7:41 p.m., after Kelly and another man reportedly jumped from the Foxburg Bridge into the Allegheny River.

“(The two men) just decided that they were going to jump off of the bridge for fun and then swim to shore,” said Parker City Fire Department Assistant Chief Rick Amsler.

The second man made it to the shore; however, Kelly could not be located.

Parker City Volunteer Fire Department, Emlenton Fire Department, and Emlenton Ambulance arrived on the scene and immediately began rescue efforts.

“We started the search right away from the shoreline to the coast,” said Amsler.

Amsler says crews used Side Scan Sonar and underwater cameras in an attempt to locate Kelly.

The search was called off around 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Search efforts continued early Friday morning. Dive teams from Lower Kiski, Oil City, Punxsutawney, Murrysville, and Butler County were called to assist. St. Petersburg Fire was also dispatched.

“We continued to use sonar,” said Amsler. “Once we get a ‘hit’ on the sonar, we will bring a second boat with Side Scan Sonar for confirmation.”

“There is a lot of debris in the river. Sometimes you get ‘hits’ on trees, rocks, and other debris,” said Amsler. “After we get confirmation, we bring in the divers.”

“It’s very, very hazardous for the divers in that environment with the current and all of the debris.”

Following a short break late Friday morning at the Foxburg Pizza Shop – where emergency workers were provided shelter and food – new operation plans were implemented.

After the search reconvened, two boats were able to locate a “high probability area,” using sonar and underwater cameras.

Around 12:30 p.m., divers located Kelly’s body just south of the Foxburg Bridge and brought it to shore.

Clarion County Coroner Terry Shaffer listed the cause of death as a drowning.

The second man – whose name was not released – was not injured.

In a statement released on their Facebook page, the Lower Kiski Swift Water Rescue/Dive Team said, “While this is certainly not the outcome that anyone had hoped for, the efforts of these water and dive professionals allowed the family to have closure. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

“The personnel worked together extremely well, and everyone was extremely proud that their efforts yielded closure.”

(Photo courtesy Lower Kiski Swift Water Rescue/Dive Team)


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