Divers resume search for missing jet skier in Allegheny River

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SOUTH BUFFALO TOWNSHIP, Pa. —

Divers resumed their search Monday for a man who went missing while jet skiing in the Allegheny River.

Officials said the accident happened around 4 p.m. Sunday in Buffalo Township, Armstrong County.

The South Buffalo Township volunteer fire company chief told Channel 11's Joe Holden that 40-year-old Duane Uzmack went missing while taking his young nephew on a ride.

Witnesses said the pair made a turn that forced them both into the water.

Both were wearing life jackets, however firefighters said Uzmack, an avid swimmer, did not have his jacket properly fastened.

Family members, who said the group was celebrating Uzmack’s birthday, were able to quickly pull the teen to safety.

Fire chief Randy Brozenick said the undercurrent in the river can quickly overpower experienced swimmers. 

“They were jet skiing around in the water, they tipped over. They got the kid out. The guy bobbed a couple times and went under, and hasn’t been seen since,” said Brozenick.

A man who lives near the water said he knows how dangerous the river can be.

“This river has been dredged many times. There’s placed out there they were searching where it was 35 feet deep. You move over 10 feet, and it’s only 10 feet deep. There are always holes,” said Jerry DeAngelis.

Crews were forced to cancel their search Sunday because of severe weather.

“We’re not progressing real far. We keep getting hits, but every time we dive in, we’re coming up empty-handed,” Brozenick said.

On Monday, the rescue mission was concentrated on an area about 300 yards from where Uzmack was last seen.