Officials urge caution on Delaware River after weekend rescues

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Officials in Bucks County and communities around the Delaware River are putting out a warning after four teenagers in canoes had to be rescued from the water over the weekend.

Jon Van Ingen of Buckingham, Pa. gave us a quick tour of the Delaware River near Lambertville, New Jersey on his small single engine boat. He says he's spent much of his life here on the water.

"Rivers have sort of a life of their own. And you have to know that river very well," said Van Ingen.

When he gets close to the Lambertville Wing Dam, he slows down. It's where officials say two canoes flipped over the weekend.

"We got told they were on the Wing Dam, which is real hazardous here in New Hope," said New Hope Eagle Fire Co. Chief Jim Becker.

Fire officials say a group of teens were canoeing here when they went in around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We put two units on the river," Becker said. "We rescued four and five rescued themselves."

Fortunately the teens were fine.

But Becker says it's a reminder of how dangerous the river can be. So far this year crews in this area have rescued 15 people.

Becker says in years past they've rescued that many people in a whole season.

"This is already proving to be a big year for us. And with the rain coming again today - two inches they're calling for," he said.

On May 29, officials say a teenager drowned while kayaking in Mill Creek in Levittown during a storm. Becker and his team hope they won't see any fatalities this year.

"We'll do everything we can. We put our lives on the line for people who venture out on bad, bad, water," said Becker.

New Hope Eagle Fire Company says during the warm season they generally respond to more water rescues than fires.

Chief Becker says if the river is muddy, that's a sign of a fast moving river.

He also says if local tubing and rafting companies aren't putting in because of conditions, it's probably not a good idea to go in on your own.
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