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ELLWOOD CITY (KDKA) — A teenager’s body was pulled from a Lawrence County creek on Monday, and a second person also had to be rescued from the dangerous section of water.
Emergency crews spent at least an hour searching the waters of Connoquenessing Creek in Ellwood City in the scorching temperatures on Memorial Day afternoon.
Forty-feet down steep, wooded terrain to even get to the water, crews had to use chainsaws to cut a path through the deep brush in order to just get to the area of the creek where the teens were swimming.
Officials say that section of the water is deep and dangerous with an unpredictable undertow. Rescue equipment, ropes and dive teams were all brought in for the rescue and later the recovery.
Lawrence County Deputy Coroner Samuel Teolis identifies the victim as 17-year-old Bruce L. Thomas Jr. of New Castle.
Thomas was swimming with another young man and a teenage girl.
Ellwood City Fire Chief Rick Myers told KDKA, “The female who was down there was able to get to shore. The other male was on a rock and had to be rescued and brought to shore.”
KDKA’s Bob Allen Reports:
Once back on dry land, the young man who was rescued was exhausted and injured.
“It’s dangerous, you know. It’s not a good place to swim,” said Alex Mulig, a witness. “It’s a hell of a climb and a hell of a climb back up. You get sucked down, down there and it a 40-foot hole, if you get sucked down, you ain’t coming back up.”
First responders are now warning others to just stay away.
“Find a swimming pool, don’t come down here,” said Chief Myers. “Stay away from these waterways, stay away from the rocks. It’s just not worth it.”