Numerous rafters pulled from rain-swollen Pennsylvania river

August 14, 2018

SLATINGTON, Pa. (AP) — Fifty campers on a rafting trip were safely pulled from the rain-swollen Lehigh River in Pennsylvania this week after severe storms spurred heavy currents, officials said.

The campers were among those rescued Monday night by water rescue teams dispatched to an area near Slatington, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Philadelphia. That came after a rafting company initially couldn’t account for about 215 rafters, mostly teenage girls who were rafting along with some camp counselors.

Stephen Bretzik, general manager of Whitewater Rafting Adventures in Nesquehoning, which oversaw the trip, said the rescued girls were on rafts that had missed a “takeout location” on the river. Those rafts were guided to another location, where the girls got off the rafts and were helped up the river bank.

The massive search and rescue effort lasted for several hours before all the rafters were accounted for late Monday. All the girls and counselors were wearing life preserver vests and were accompanied by guides

One camper suffered cuts and scrapes when she climbed up the river bank, while one guide was treated for an allergic reaction.

Heavy rains overnight caused flooding in a wide swath of Pennsylvania on Monday, including areas soaked by a series of unusually heavy rains in recent weeks.

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