Rescue crews have recovered the body of a 30-year-old woman swept away by fast-moving water Saturday evening in Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia.
Philadelphia police said the marine unit made the discovery at 10 a.m. in Pennypack Creek, upstream from Frankford Avenue.
The woman, identified by friends on Facebook as photographer Rebecca Bunting, reportedly was taking photographs in a storm drain when she was swept into the creek by a sudden rush of water.nto the water shortly before 6:45 p.m. Saturday. When she did not emerge, her boyfriend made a frantic 911 call, and police in the 15th District dispatched a marine unit to the area of Sandyford and Ryan Avenues. The area is near Sandy Run, which flows into Pennypack Creek.
The drowning is a troubling part of summer in this region of many rivers, creeks and lakes. Last weekend, two bodies from separate incidents were recovered from the Delaware River. Last month, a 12-year-old boy drowned in Burlington County's Sylvan Lake.
Nearby residents have said Pennypack Creek is notoriously dangerous, particularly after rain. Before this incident, at least five people — ranging in age from 13 to 67 — had been found dead in Pennypack Creek since 2010, and the creek was rain-swollen in four of those cases.
Elsie Stevens, corresponding secretary with the Holme Circle Civic Association, partnered with city officials in 2014 to hold a series of school assemblies meant to educate teenagers in the area about the perils of swimming in the creek, whether it's facing surging waters or dangerous bacteria. Stevens, 70, has lived a short walk away from Pennypack Park for 47 years — but, she warned, there's a "dark side" to the creek.
"Pennypack can be beautiful and serene and great for pictures, but after a rainstorm, it can be deadly," she said. "The water just rages down the creek."