The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has announced that three of its waterways conservation officers recently received lifesaving awards for their roles in saving lives on the Delaware River in 2023.
The awards were given to officers Erin Czech, Abigail Luteri and Michael Blair during the PFBC’s quarterly commission meeting on Jan. 22 in Harrisburg, during which they were recognized for their swift responses to separate boating incidents that occurred on the Delaware on July 4 and Aug. 26.
According to the PFBC, on July 4, Czech and Lateri were patrolling the river in Philadelphia when they responded to a flashing light they observed following a fireworks display on the Camden, N.J., waterfront.
“Czech, Luteri and Pennsylvania Game Commission Deputy State Game Warden Darren Holmes…noticed a personal watercraft (jet ski) moving towards them,” a news release explained. “After the officers activated their emergency lights, the occupants of the personal watercraft and two other nearby anchored boats alerted the officers that there were two men and a woman distressed in the water who were being carried away by strong currents.”
One of the men–who was without a life jacket–was seen struggling to swim and was thrown a rope by Luteri before Holmes pulled him safely aboard the patrol boat. Czech then maneuvered the boat toward the other man and woman, who were wearing life jackets but had been swept away from their boats. After the pair were rescued, all three people were safely returned to their boats.
According to officials, the “emergency began when the woman entered the water voluntarily to swim, wearing a life jacket, but…underestimated the strength of the currents in the river.”
“The…men jumped into the water for an attempted rescue when they also became distressed,” they added.
The other rescue for which the officers were recognized occurred following a boating incident at Tullytown Cove, Bucks County, on Aug. 26.
Four people aboard a 23-foot boat in distress were rescued after the boat struck a large channel marker and became half-submerged.
“Several people were bleeding and one was in and out of consciousness (following the accident),” the news release said. “The officers were able to provide life jackets to the boaters and transported them to a nearby marina where EMS was waiting to provide medical assistance.”
This local news story was reported with generative AI assistance.