UPPER AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP — A woman from Sunbury says she almost drowned Sunday when she tried to save a child in the lake at Shikellamy State Park.
The woman says she was jogging in the park when she heard the child scream for help.
Lydia Ross of Sunbury says the near-drowning incident is the worst thing she’s ever gone through. Ross believes it could have been prevented with more safety equipment at Shikellamy State Park.
Ross jogs at Shikellamy State Park near Sunbury several times a week. During her run on Sunday, Ross says she and a 7-year-old child nearly drowned by the boat docks.
“It was just the scariest experience of my life. I thought we both were going to die,” she said.
Ross was running near the docks when she heard the child call for help. The girl appeared to be drowning.
“So then I went right around the corner, went right down in and tried to reach for her. My right foot slipped on the slime and I went right down in the water with her.”
Ross says the ledge and floor were too slippery to grip. A Good Samaritan pulled Ross and the girl out of the river.
There was nothing for Ross or the child to grab onto. The closest buoy is about 100 feet away. Ross says she would like to see more ropes in this area, or at least signs telling people not to go swimming.
“A couple more of those ropes with the buoys would be beneficial. That child might have been able to get a floating rope.”
Park rangers say swimming is not allowed in this area.
“Just like any water atmosphere, when you have boats running by, we just don’t want people swimming in the water there,” said interim park manager Phillip Schmidt
Ross and her husband believe the incident could have been prevented if the child was belter supervised.
“The river is a serious matter, even if you’re a good swimmer. My kids all can swim really well but there are undercurrents and stuff,” said Perry Ross.
Park managers tell Newswatch 16 they will take measures to increase the safety in that area of Shikellamy State Park after this incident.