Emergency crews still looking for missing man in Youghiogheny River

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Nearly three dozen rescuers are looking for a man who went missing on the Youghiogheny River after his raft capsized at Ohiopyle State Park.

James Juran, the park's manager, said several swiftwater river rescue teams have been combing the river and the surrounding woods ever since the man, identified as 22-year-old Rob Vega of Lancaster, went missing Saturday afternoon.

Though more than a day has passed, Mr. Juran said there's no reason to give up hope.

"There is no predictable timetable," he said. "You just go to the point last seen, you interview all the eyewitnesses and you rely on your team to find you clues and give you insight."

Jim Greenbaum, river operations manager for White Water Adventurers, said he was told that Mr. Vega's raft flipped at Dimple Rock and the individual was swept about 200 yards downstream and disappeared near an area known as Swimmer's Rapid.

Dimple Rock, a treacherous boulder located in the whitewater of the lower Yough, has been the scene of a series of accidents and fatalities involving adventurers in rafts and inflatable kayaks. There haven't been any fatalities at Dimple Rock for more than 10 years.

Reports of a missing person and possible drowning today were first received about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the Fayette County 911 center. A search ensued involving emergency park personnel and other rescuers, including employees of commercial rafting companies in Ohiopyle. It was suspended after darkness but resumed Sunday morning.

A gauge on the river in Ohiopyle said the water level was three feet, twice the normal summer level. The water temperature was 63 degrees, and the water was murky due to recent rains in the area.

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Andrew McGill: amcgill@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1497. First Published July 7, 2013 12:00 AM


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