Officials urge Dock Street Dam dangers following river rescue

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A close call at the Dock Street Dam has officials warning people of its dangers. Monday night, kayakers went past warning signs for the dam and needed to be rescued. During that rescue, Harrisburg firefighters got caught in the dam's current and needed to be pulled out.

"The incident that happened should have never happened," said Lt. Colonel Larry Furlong, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. "The amount of buoys that are out there now, the warnings that are in place, the kayakers should have taken heed to that and actually turned around well before they got into the danger area."

Buoys and warnings signs are in place to remind people out on the water to stay back 100 feet from the boil. Yet, Monday night, tragedy was narrowly avoided as two kayakers seemingly ignored warning signs for the dam as they traveled down river.

"The water will actually spin backwards and churn and draw you back into that dam," said Furlong. "So, we actually call it a drowning machine."

Harrisburg firefighters were out on the water performing night time boat operations as the kayakers moved past the buoys and got pulled into the dam. As the firefighters tried to rescue them, it's believe their boat had a mechanical issue, and they too were pulled into the dam, needing to be rescued. The three firefighters, and two kayakers survived the incident, and officials spent Tuesday reminding people to take the warning signs on the water seriously.

"The buoys are on the dam for a reason. If you see them, turn around," said Senior Deputy Fire Chief Mike Souder, Harrisburg Bureau of Fire. "There's a reason. Somebody sat down and figured out that keeps everybody safe."

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission urges everyone headed out on any body of water take a boating safety class.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.