Swimmers, This Isn’t the Weekend to Cool Off in the Delaware

With water levels higher than normal, more than a dozen people have had to be rescued in Bucks County in the past week. Plus: fuel spill.

delaware river


Remove “taking a dip in the Delaware” from your bucket list for this weekend: Authorities in Bucks County are warning would-be swimmers to steer clear of the river’s raging currents.

More than a dozen people have had to be rescued from the currents in the past week alone, Fox29 reports. The situation is expected to worsen on Friday as heavier rainfall from earlier in the week makes its way south, bringing rising water levels — up to three additional feet — with it.

The water’s placid surface may be a trick, authorities say. Currents have left some swimmers clinging to limbs along the banks, and debris carried swiftly underwater has added another degree of danger.

Last weekend, two people were plucked from a branch hanging 20 feet over the water after losing control of their canoe, according to the New Hope Patch. A group strolling a nearby path heard calls for help coming from the water. New Hope and Solebury Police responded, and rescue boats from multiple fire companies were dispatched. Both swimmers were evaluated and released by EMS, according to New Hope Eagle Fire Company’s Facebook page.

“Please, Please, Please, stay off the river for the next few days,” the fire company said in a late-Sunday Facebook post. “We realize how hot it is, but there is no safe way to be in the river right now.”

Bucks County River Country, a company that rents canoes, kayaks, and tubes, was closed last weekend in response the river’s conditions. It has since reopened, but as of Friday morning, the company is discouraging tubing and is allowing anyone under 18 years old on rafts only with parental supervision.

Solebury Township detective Jonathan Koretzky told Philly.com that, last summer, only one resident needed to be rescued.

“We haven’t seen levels this high in several years,” Koretzky said. “The surface of the water may look calm, but underwater, those currents are strong.”

If the warnings about the water won’t keep you off the water, perhaps this will do it: A freight train derailed Thursday near the Pennsylvania-New York border, spilling 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel in the Delaware. You know where it’s coming next.