Video Shows Rescue of Rafters After Trip Over Dangerous Waterfall

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 15, 2019US News
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Video Shows Rescue of Rafters After Trip Over Dangerous Waterfall
Ohiopyle State Park. (Screenshot/Google Maps)

Newly released video footage shows the moment a group of rafters in Pennsylvania was swept over a dangerous waterfall, flipping over the raft.

There were two men and four women in the raft in the water at Ohiopyle State Park over the weekend.

The rafters didn’t see signs that state “Danger beyond this point,” officials told WTAE.

Witnesses watched from an observation platform as the rafters were thrown from the raft.

Cries of “Oh my God!” can be heard as the raft goes over. The footage was filmed by Cody Veronie.

“So this happened at Ohiopyle today. 5-6 rafters went over the falls. This wasn’t supposed to happen and wasn’t part of the guided trip,” Veronie wrote on Facebook.

“We watched all the rafters go over and stood there waiting to see if everyone came out. We couldn’t tell from where the video is so we went over to the visitor’s center and everyone was coming up. We asked and thankfully everyone was okay and came out alive.”

All of the rafters were rescued, officials later said.

“We fortunately got all six of them fairly quickly. The great thing about it is, just like wearing a seat belt in your car, how important that is, all six of them had their life jackets on. So when they went over the falls, that was probably the thing that saved them, and that’s why they’re with us today,” said Kenneth Bisbee, park operations manager at the park.

According to the park website, the Youghiogheny River has exciting whitewater boating for all experience levels.

“The numerous class III and IV rapids make for exciting rafting that should only be attempted by experienced whitewater boaters. Inexperienced whitewater boaters should run this section of the river on a guided raft trip with an authorized concessionaire,” it stated.

“All whitewater boaters on the Youghiogheny must learn to recognize natural dangers and understand that injury and death are a possibility when boating the Lower Youghiogheny.”

Class I rapids are considered easy, Class II are considered novice, Class III are considered intermediate, and Class IV are considered advanced, the website noted.

Millions of people visit the park every year, according to the park website.

The park was listed as the best park in Pennsylvania by Outside magazine this year.

“Pennsylvania has a lot of parks, but none exhibit the same combination of size and recreational diversity as Ohiopyle State Park. With more than 25 miles of mountain bike trails in its 20,000 acres and high-quality whitewater on the Youghiogheny River (including a set of falls you can drop during a few weeks out of the year), there’s no shortage of adrenaline-inducing activities,” according to the magazine.

“Slip down natural water slides, view the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania from Baughman Rocks, and explore rare plants and fossils on the Ferncliff Peninsula, which has a distinctly mild and humid microclimate. Spend the night under the stars at Kentuck Campground, or hit the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile trail accessible year-round for backpacking.”

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