By Dan Hust
COCHECTON Another swimmer succumbed to the unrelenting Delaware River on Saturday, according to the National Park Service (NPS).
NPS spokesman Loren Goering sadly confirmed that a visitor from Portugal, 41-year-old Adriano Pacheco, drowned Saturday afternoon just below the Skinner’s Falls, NY-Milanville, PA bridge near Cochecton.
He was in this country visiting family members in Amityville, Long Island.
“Mr. Pacheco and a companion had decided to swim across the river [from NY to PA],” said Goering.
Both were in the water without a lifejacket, and the NPS got an emergency call around 4:40 p.m. that Pacheco had gone under.
His companion survived, but Pacheco’s body was fished out by members of the Sullivan County Dive Team at about 6:12 p.m.
Pacheco is the fourth person to drown in the Upper Delaware River this summer, and the second to die while trying to swim across the river.
The State Police, Sheriff’s Office, and the Lake Huntington, Narrowsburg and Lumberland fire departments also responded.
They’ve been busy with other drownings and near-drownings this summer too busy, according to Sullivan County Public Safety Commissioner Richard Martinkovic.
“We’re burning our resources out,” Martinkovic lamented yesterday, noting that four of the five boats used to respond to water emergencies are offline while repairs are made from river damage.
His biggest concern, however, is the personnel. Some volunteers, he said, haven’t had a weekend to spend with family in weeks.
“It seems like this year we’re really getting slammed,” Martinkovic observed.
Neighboring Wayne County, PA, which shares 25-30 miles of the river with Sullivan County, no longer has a dive team, and while Orange County, Port Jervis and Matamoras, PA, continue to provide assistance whenever needed, the Sullivan County Dive Team and local volunteer responders often shoulder the primary burden.
“Orange County is very good about coming up,” Martinkovic related, “but they have their own [river emergency] issues down there, as well.”
So he’s calling the involved counties and their emergency responders to have a meeting on how to more equally distribute the load.
“I think we have to count where our resources are and how to deploy them,” he explained.
See our editorial, page 6A of the printed edition more on the Delaware River, and the summer season.