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Body found in Ohiopyle State Park along Youghiogheny River

Body found along banks of Youghiogheny River near Ohiopyle State Park
Body found along banks of Youghiogheny River near Ohiopyle State Park 00:23

OHIOPYLE, Pa. (KDKA) -- A body was pulled from the water in Ohiopyle State Park on Sunday.

While officials aren't sure how the victim ended up in the water, those who know the Youghiogheny River say this time of year is one of the most dangerous.

According to officials, the man pulled from the river appears to have been a fisherman who somehow ended up in the raging rapids and was unable to escape. 

Officials say it's likely 55-year-old Paul Baluch, whose body was recovered from the water, fell in. 

"A couple of hikers found him yesterday and he was dressed in fisherman's attire, so we think he was a fisherman," said Kenneth Bisbee, the operations manager of Ohiopyle State Park.

He was one of many over the years claimed by the river at a time when it's at its deadliest.

"The river is a little bit higher than people are used to at this time of year. Today it's in the 70s, but the water temperatures are in the 30s and 40s, so that's the danger," Bisbee said. 

If one isn't prepared with appropriate gear, your odds of survival if you fall in are dramatically lowered.

"It's required on this river to wear a PFD whenever you are close to the river or on the river, and you should always be dressed to avoid getting wet," Bisbee said. 

Bisbee says many accidents and drownings happen when people on or near the water are lacking one thing more than anything else: situational awareness.

"You trip over something, you fall in, you get in too deep and your waders fill with water, all of the sudden, you are in trouble," Bisbee said. 

Believe it or not, even selfies near the water have proven dangerous. 

"It happened in 2015 where somebody got a little too close, wanted to take a selfie and slipped on some ice and fell in and it was fatal," Bisbee said. 

Bisbee says Ohiopyle's rapids and water should be respected and if you are going to venture toward or into the water, don't go alone.

"At least let somebody know for sure. The buddy system works even better. Always bring somebody with you if you can, don't do this alone," Bisbee said.

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