Your Local News | Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Easton News

Northampton Coroner identifies Delaware River drowning victim; caution urged in natural waters

Easton Delaware River
Donna S. Fisher
For LehighValleyNews.com
The Delaware River in Easton, Pennsylvania. A man recently died from complications of drowning in the local waterway.

EASTON, Pa. — The Northampton County Coroner’s Office confirmed the identity of a man who died from complications linked to drowning in the Delaware River over the holiday weekend.

Coroner Zachary R. Lysek said in a release that Gary M. Conley, 53, was confirmed dead from complications associated with drowning on Sunday, June 7. Lysek ruled the death accidental.

Conley, a resident of North Delaware Drive in Forks Township, had been seated in a flotation tube when he entered the waters “for an unknown reason” and did not return to the surface on Saturday, officials said.

He was pulled to the shore by other individuals who began CPR before EMS officials transported him to St. Luke’s Anderson Campus.

Conley was resuscitated, but despite medical intervention, he died from complications.

Officials have warned residents and visitors to avoid swimming or entering the nearby rivers even in the midst of the recent brutal heat.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said the Delaware in particular has a strong undertow that can be dangerous or even deadly for those who risk entering the water.

Cautioned advised in natural waters

Reports of drownings in the Delaware are not uncommon, including such incidents as a man from Phillipsburg who tried to cross the river in the summer of 2023.

Experts, including the American Red Cross, have advised the public to be cautious when swimming in natural waters, including lakes, rivers and oceans.

Regarding rivers, the American Red Cross states that swimmers should be aware of “fast-moving currents, waves and rapids, even in shallow water.”

It also recommends keeping to areas that are marked safe for swimming or diving, avoiding jumping into the water from any heights and to avoid intoxicants while swimming, among other advice.

And while children are often encouraged to utilize floatation and safety devices including floaties and life jackets, adults of any ability level also should consider such safety steps, the American Red Cross states.

Lehigh Valley Health Network offers a list of summertime safety tips for young swimmers on their website.

Based on Easton falling under a heat advisory at least until 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, with additional highs throughout the week set at or around the 90-degree mark, residents and visitors should exercise extreme caution when swimming.

Those looking to escape the heat should also be aware Easton has two pools which are open on alternating days. On occasion, city officials will approve the opening of fire hydrants.