One Dead after Boat Capsized in Northumberland County

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UPPER AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP -- A boater has died in Northumberland County.

Authorities say two people were fishing Wednesday night on the Susquehanna River near Sunbury when their boat capsized.

The coroner said Walter Delong, 58, of Beavertown, drowned. He called the death accidental.

The other person was taken to a hospital.

Fishing experts say the spot where they were fishing is a popular one for night fishing, but there is a dam in that area, which could cause a boat to capsize.

Even though it was raining people still went fishing on the Susquehanna River on Thursday.

"There's people fishing here pretty much 24/7, especially this time of the year," said Ken Maurer, Southside Sports.

Unfortunately, early Thursday morning, one man did not make it out of the river alive. The coroner says Walter Delong, 58, of Beavertown, drowned in the river near Sunbury after his boat capsized.

"You've got to watch, got to pay attention," said Rose Maurer. "It's difficult. Even if you're watching, you can get sucked into it."

Rose Maurer and her husband Ken own Southside Sports in Sunbury. They are very familiar with the Susquehanna River and say in this particular area there is a dam which can be dangerous.

"There's a back tow, a boil, and I don't know what happened in this scenario, because I don't know the details, but most of the guys who fish here know that you have to stay away from the dam because you could get sucked into it," said Ken.

The Maurers frequently direct people to this spot because they say it's the best spot to fish in this area at all hours.

"Susquehanna River, both dams are very productive and it typically happens at the PPL dam first and that's why everyone wants to be there, good fishing," Rose added.

Maurer says the men could have been fishing for walleyes or catfish because nighttime is the ideal time to fish for them.

Rose says some fishermen came into the shop the day before asking for the best spot to fish. She doesn't know if Delong was one of them and did not know him but says his death hits close to home.

According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, boaters are not required to wear a life vest until November 1.


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