Father drowns trying to save son

Woman critical after she also enters river after boy, 6

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A man drowned and a woman was in critical condition at Allegheny General Hospital after they plunged into the Allegheny River to rescue a boy who slipped into the water while wading at the edge.

Paramedics were called about 5:30 p.m. yesterday to an area near the Three Rivers Rowing Association complex at Millvale Riverfront Park, near the Pittsburgh city line.

Millvale Police Chief Dean Girty said the boy, 6, was fishing with his twin brother, father, and friends when he lost his footing and was sucked in by a strong current.

Chief Girty said the boy's father, believed to be 43 years old, jumped in to rescue him but was pulled under, as was a woman who followed the father into the river.

Another bystander jumped in, and with the assistance of two other people, was able to rescue the boy. When the man and woman were pulled from the water, they were in cardiac arrest, and city paramedics were unable to revive them.

Both had been under water for 10 to 20 minutes, said Ron Curry, a district chief with Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services. The man was taken to Allegheny General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Allegheny County medical examiner's office said the man drowned.

The medical examiner's office and a family member last night identified the deceased man as Glenn J. Wack of Ley Street, Troy Hill.

The relative said Mr. Wack's wife died last year and that he was raising the twin sons as a single parent. He also has a 22-year-old daughter. Mr. Wack was a construction contractor, she said.

The identity of the hospitalized woman was not released last night.

Pittsburgh police Lt. Robert Roth said three adults and four children were fishing and wading in the water when the 6-year-old boy was pulled in by the current.

The site is on a back channel of the Allegheny River that passes between Herrs Island and the North Shore/Millvale riverbank.

The rowing association complex, which includes a dock, straddles the city-Millvale line.

Pittsburgh homicide detectives were investigating.

Annie O'Neill, Post-Gazette
Paramedics tend to a drowning victim yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.

Nate Guidry can be reached at nguidry@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3865.


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