Two Good Samaritans fall to save man who went in Schuylkill

Jonathan Granoff (right) emerges from Schuylkill after unsuccessfully trying to rescue unidentified man. JOSEPH KACZMAREK / FOR THE DAILY NEWS
Jonathan Granoff (right) emerges from Schuylkill after unsuccessfully trying to rescue unidentified man. JOSEPH KACZMAREK / FOR THE DAILY NEWS
Posted: August 07, 2012

VALERIE Kukla-Webb dived into the Schuylkill to try to rescue a man who fell or jumped in Monday afternoon and got within a few feet of him before he disappeared beneath the river's murky surface.

"I was probably about two strokes away," she said. "Then I looked back and he went under."

Police responded to call about a person in the water beneath the Walnut Street Bridge at 4:40 p.m.

As police marine units tried searching for the man, Kukla-Webb and Jonathan Granoff, two passersby who jumped in to try to save him, climbed out of the water and said they couldn't find him.

His body was pulled from the river about 6:30 p.m., police said. His identity was not released Monday night, but Kukla-Webb said he appeared to be in his late teens to early 20s.

Kukla-Webb said she was jogging across the bridge when she saw the man on the bridge in a meditative, almost yoga-like pose. When she descended the stairs to the ground, she saw him in the river.

"At first he actually seemed pretty comfortable in the water," Kukla-Webb said. "Then he kind of started thrashing."

Granoff said that when the man started calling for help, he and Kukla-Webb sprang into action.

"If I were 20 years younger I would have got him," said Granoff, who is in his 60s. "As I was swimming, I was reflecting on how one individual life is of immeasurable value."

Contact Phillip Lucas at 215-854-5914 or lucasp@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @UnPhiltered.

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