Local death in a swimming accident in a creek

Gentleman was a football running back. His body was missing for a few days, despite multiple searches.

http://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/13745650-74/searchers-find-body-of-connellsville-swimmer-missing-since-tuesday

Searchers find body of Connellsville swimmer missing since Tuesday

by Jeff Himler, published Sunday, June 10, 2018

Searchers Sunday morning found the body of a Connellsville man who had been missing since Tuesday in South Huntingdon and was presumed drowned.

The body of Dylan Knopsnider, 21, was pulled from the waters of Jacobs Creek at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, according to state police Tpr. Robert Broadwater of the Uniontown barracks. He said Knopsnider’s body surfaced in the middle of the creek about 50 yards from where he entered the water Tuesday evening in a popular but remote swimming hole about two miles downstream from the Chaintown Road bridge.

Dive teams, firefighters and cadaver dogs from multiple counties had been searching the area fruitlessly for signs of Knopsnider since Tuesday. Broadwater said officials believe heavy rainfall may have helped bring the body to the surface. Firefighters from Dawson and a Murrysville dive team were involved in the search Sunday, according to a Fayette County 911 supervisor.

Jacobs Creek is at the border of Westmoreland and Fayette counties, and the Fayette County Coroner’s office was available to identify and take charge of the body, Broadwater said.

An autopsy is planned.

It is believed Knopsnider lost his footing and hit his head on a rock as he jumped into water about 10 to 15 feet deep downstream of a waterfall, police said. The creek was swollen by a storm earlier Tuesday, creating a fast current.

Trooper Adam Janosko said one of Knopsnider’s friends told police he jumped in the water in an attempt to rescue Knopsnider but could not reach him.

A Connellsville Area High School graduate, Knopsnider was a running back and strong safety for the school’s football team from 2012 to 2014.

 

What happens when a person is trapped in a riptide?

In a rip tide, really a rip current, the swimmer is pulled out to sea. First of all, while in the current, you don’t know it. You might be with a friend and giving attention there, and then you glance to the shore line, perhaps just 20 or 30 yards away about 10-seconds ago, and it is going farther and farther away.

Rip tides are hard to spot and notice when you are in them. And, they are not easy to see when standing on the beach. Rookies to the beach are oblivious. It is good to have some understanding of them as they are dangerous and not well understood.

I am a swim coach and a very good swimmer. However, I’m no match for the pull of a rip tide or the rip current.

Often, when the situation is noticed, the rookie swimmer who is caught in that situation tries to save himself by getting out of the water and heading straight onto the land at the beach. Good goal, but it isn’t smart to go straight against the the power of the rip current. The current is too strong, often.

You might be lucky in that it could be a small current or you might be just to its edge. You might be able to stand on the bottom too. And, rip tides loosen their grip, eventually.

What you do not want to do is swim yourself to exhaustion. Getting into oxygen debt and sprinting might be good for about 20-seconds. Some might go 40-seconds. But then if you are totally spent physically and are no closer to the beach, your chances of survival are greatly diminished.

The other thing that kills is PANIC. Stay calm. Going nuts out in the water is going to tighten your muscles, compromise your breathing, speed your heart rate and present a faster ticket to your death.

With good fortune, you’re at a beach that is guarded with professional lifeguards who are not already occupied with pulling other tourist out of another rip current. If the lifeguards can be notified — GREAT.

Where are your friends and family. I hope that the supervision is in effect and perhaps they’re summoning a lifeguard, PRONTO. You might be surrounded with your friends and family and all of you in dire straights. Hope that’s not the case.

I know of two brothers in their 20s who were both sweapt out in a rip current on their last day of vacation in Costa Rica. An hour later, the one guy made it back to shore and the other’s body was found a few days later. This ordeal might take many minutes to unfold. They got separated in the first moments of knowing what was unfolding. That’s so sad.

Can you stay together? Look out for each other. Calm one another. Take turns waving, shouting, resting.

The wise move is to swim out of the current. Are the waves breaking differently to the one side or the other? Swim parallel to the shore, generally, so that you are not going directly against the current, but rather with it slightly and then to the side.

After you get out of the current, swimming back to safety is going to be easy.

FLOAT. Take gentle strokes. To swim, you’ll need to get to the top of the water with your legs and hips, floating more like a boat and not being vertical like a building. Boats float. Buildings sink. Boats and swimmers that look like tall buildings sink. Get flat and horizontal. Let your head stay low. Bring your feet up.

It is okay to swim three, four or five strokes on your front and then roll over to your back and take breaths, keep a gentle kick, watch out for the next waves and rest with the head back, chest, belly and legs up near the surface. Then when ready, flip back to the front and take some additional strokes.

Another great tip that more people need to follow: WEAR FINS in the open water. Surf rescue lifeguards, Coast Guard Swimmers, NAVY Seals and others who work in the water wear FINS. Recreational swimmers, body surfers and even those learning to competitive swim should be with FINS on while in the water. Our feet with fins are far more effective and efficient. Take your fins with you on vacation and wear them when on the beach and in the water. With fins, you’ll be able to kick with some power and speed in a sideways direction and get out of the rip.

Getting to Potters Cove, Moraine State Park

Get to Porters Cove

Part of Moraine State Park, about a one hour drive north of the City of Pittsburgh up Route 79.
Porters Cove image in Google Maps. Swim in the lake!

Play is important, but, NEVER play in flood waters. Do not do that!

Do Not Play in Flood Waters
Playing in flood waters is not okay. Falling into a hole, storm drain, sewer and other pipe that might be in a temporary clog could cause drowning. The force of the water can change quickly and be super strong. Furthermore, that water is often dirty, filled with bacteria and ripe with infection. Also, electrical risks are high too. Just stay away from flood waters. Playing there is not advised.