Police ID teen who drowned in Tacony Creek in Juniata

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014
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Action News has learned the name of the teenager who was killed while swimming in the Tacony Creek.

JUNIATA (WPVI) -- Action News has learned the name of the teenager who was killed while swimming in the Tacony Creek in Philadelphia's Juniata section Monday afternoon.

Philadelphia police have identified the 15-year-old drowning victim as Ruben Polanco, who was swimming in the creek with a friend.

First responders were called to Fishers Lane off Ramona Avenue at 5:45 p.m. Monday.

Witnesses told them a teenage boy was swimming in the Tacony Creek under the bridge at Fishers and did not resurface.

First responders jumped in. The water was about 8 feet deep.

After about 20 minutes, police and fire department medics were able to pull the boy, later identified as Polanco, from the creek. He was unconscious.

Medics worked on him at the scene, but he was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m.

Ruben Polanco graduated from middle school twelve days ago. He had just returned from vacation in the Dominican Republic and went for a swim with his friends.

""I'm very sad because I can't do anything for him," said his sister, Yarlys Polanco through tears. "He was my young brother."

The circumstances surrounding Polanco's death are an all too frequent occurernce as the summer muggy days descend upon us and the creeks, streams and rivers begin to look inviting.

Firefighter Tim McShea has seen many of these tragedies over the years, from the far Northeast to Southwest Philadelphia.

"They go in the water without thinking of what could be in there. There could be debris in the water, there could be rapid moving water, and before you know it they're gone," McShea said. "The only thing I can say is 'Try something else. Get a garden hose and get wet down. Get one of the little sprinklers in the store."

"I don't know how his mother is going to get through this," said Polanco's cousin, Ingrid Polanco. "It's so hard for her."

A teenager drowned in the Tacony Creek in Juniata.