LOWER TYRONE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Rescue crews on the Westmoreland County-Fayette County border have suspended their search for the night after a young man fell into a creek and disappeared.
The incident happened Sunday afternoon near Lower Tyrone Township at Creek Falls, which feeds into the Youghiogheny River.
Friends have identified the missing man as 22-year-old Joe Gralewski of Yukon.
Witnesses say Gralewski was swimming near a water fall area when he may have hit his head and went under the water.
“It’s still not real. They haven’t found him,” said Dwayne Forberg, of Ruffdale.
Gralewski, or Joe G. as his friends call him, went to Creek Falls on Sunday afternoon to cool off, hang out and just have fun. But it was around 3 p.m. when he went under the water and never came back up.
“Watching it happen, it just, you feel so helpless,” said Alice Rossi, Gralewski’s friend. “You think, ‘oh, he’s down, he’ll be back up in a second,’ but he’s not. He didn’t. So, everybody jumped in.”
“There was probably 70 people in the water, at least 70 people,” said Matt Repnik, of Yukon. “We just couldn’t find him. He just disappeared.”
Rescuers came from several different counties to try and help out, as many as 50 were involved. It’s believed the river near the falls could be somewhere around 30 feet deep.
Crews used hooks and nets as a part of their search. Both came up empty, leaving friends and family to wait another day.
“It’s still kind of surreal. It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Sean Fedorak, of Yukon.
Because the current was so strong, divers were not able to get into the water on Sunday, but the search is expected to resume Monday.