WILKES-BARRE — City firefighters Tuesday morning retrieved the body of a man from the Susquehanna River.
Luzerne County Coroner Frank Hacken said the man was approximately 60 years old and his death did not appear to be suspicious.
An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday to determine the cause and manner of death, Hacken said at the Nesbitt Park boat launch where the body was brought to the shore.
”We’re pending notification of family and identification,” Hacken told reporters.
The location of the body, downstream from the West Northampton Street levee portal, made it necessary to remove the body by boat, said Wilkes-Barre City Fire Department Chief Jay Delaney.
“Once the first firefighter got to the scene, he determined that it wasn’t safe to remove this person through a hilly, muddy, rocky terrain,” Delaney said.
The department put its water rescue boat into the water at approximately 10 a.m. shortly after a report of a possible sighting of a body in the river.
“There was a woman that was walking across the Market Street Bridge who saw what she thought was a body floating and subsequently called 911,” Delaney said. The call to respond was issued at 9:49 a.m.
“Whenever you’re involved in a water rescue, it’s a dangerous situation for all involved, especially in the Susquehanna River with all the rain that we had, the current is strong,” Hacken said.
When the boat returned to the launch, a Wilkes-Barre City Police Department detective and Chief Deputy Coroner Joseph Jacobs boarded to travel to the scene. They returned to the boat launch with the body at approximately 11:30 a.m.
“The river is unpredictable all the time, but as the coroner said our firefighters have the equipment, the training to do this and what they did today was flawless,” Delaney added.
Delaney was on the bridge with city police and coordinated the operation on the shore and in the water.
“It was good team work with coroner’s office, the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department and the detectives. All around it was just good teamwork today,” Delaney said.
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