Rescue crews have recovered the body of a Shenango Township man who drowned in the Beaver River last night.
New Castle police have identified the man as 20-year-old Ronald Christopher Poloka of Denny Drive.
Police said Poloka and a friend had swum to a small island off River Road. As they were swimming back to shore, around 5:30 p.m, the friend saw Poloka was having difficulty, then lost sight of him in the water, police said.
Friends on shore called 911, according to reports.
Taylor Township firemen and diving teams from Shenango Township and New Castle fire departments recovered Poloka’s body around 9:10 p.m. after it was spotted by a state police helicopter.
Taylor Township fire chief David Allegro said his department was called out around 5:40.
“Apparently they were swimming across the river and the victim became distressed and couldn’t make it,” Allegro said.
“We got on the scene and searched the banks, and had boats put in below and above us and we called the state police helicopter and they flew over.”
He said the helicopter spotted Poloka’s body around 8:30 p.m.,while it was still light outside.
“It’s easier to see from the air and the water was pretty clear. You could see down six to eight feet. The river depth there varies but the river’s down right now.”
He said Poloka was found in about eight feet of water, about a mile south of West Pittsburg.
Allegro said that in addition to boats from Shenango and New Castle fire departments, New Beaver and Wampum fire departments also provided boats.
Poloka was taken by ambulance to Jameson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Lawrence County Coroner Russell S. Noga said a post-mortem medical examination will be performed today at Heritage Valley Health System in Beaver County.
He expects the death to be ruled as an accidental drowning, he said.
“It was a good team effort,” Allegro said crediting all of the volunteers in the recovery. “It was a stressful situation for everyone. The volunteers have to do some healing, too, when you deal with a situation like this.”