Get our newsletters

Kayaker dies following Delaware River rescue


A kayaker has died after being rescued Sunday from the Delaware River in New Hope.

New Hope Police Chief Michael Cummings said Jonathan Gentile died Tuesday evening. He had been taken to St. Mary Medical Center, where his father, James, is employed as a nurse. Father and son were kayaking together on Sunday when Jonathan’s kayak overturned after the pair went over the rapids, Cummings said.

Jonathan was “underwater for several minutes,” the chief said, “and then broke the surface of the water.” His father was able to get him to a rocky finger of ground that extends from the rear of Waterworks out into the river, the chief said. “Seeing his son not breathing and in cardiac arrest he started CPR.”

Cummings said James “Jim” Gentile of New Hope went over the rapids first without incident.

Sean Swider Water Rescue Captain, Lambertville-New Hope Ambulance and Rescue Squad, said the river conditions were “relatively normal for this time of year.”

Swider said Lambertville-New Hope, Central Bucks EMS, New Hope Eagle Fire Company and West Amwell Fire Company were dispatched at 11:56 a.m. Sunday, to a report of two kayakers in distress below the wing dam.

“An airboat from New Hope Eagle Fire Company removed both individuals from the river and lifesaving efforts were initiated on the shoreline by EMTs and paramedics from Lambertville-New Hope EMS and Central Bucks EMS,” Swider said. “One patient was transported to a local trauma center.”

Bucks County Coroner Meredith Buck said Jonathan, 38, of Pittsburgh, was pronounced dead at 5:34 p.m. Tuesday, after being taken off life support. His cause and manner of death is pending investigation by the coroner’s office, she said.