ShareThis Page
Underwater cameras added to search for missing Connellsville man |

Underwater cameras added to search for missing Connellsville man

Patrick Varine
| Friday, June 8, 2018 2:45 p.m
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Family and friends of Dylan Knopsnider gather off of Chaintown Road on Friday, June 8, 2018. A Murrysville dive team spent more than 10 hours searching for Knopsnider on Friday without success.
Dylan Knopsnider in 2017 Facebook photo
Joe Napsha | Tribune-Review
State Police Trooper Adam Janosko discusses recovery efforts with family and friends of Dylan Knopsnider Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at site along Jacobs Creek.

Using underwater camera equipment from the Allegheny County Bomb Squad, a dive team from Murrysville was unable to locate a missing 21-year-old Connellsville man who is presumed to have drowned Tuesday.

After more than 10 hours searching Jacobs Creek in South Huntingdon, the Murrysville Medic One dive team was not able to locate Dylan Knopsnider, who was swimming with friends Tuesday near the Creek Falls section of the stream when he failed to surface.

The Greensburg Fire Department dive team and water rescue teams from several volunteer fire departments in Westmoreland, Fayette and Washington counties searched the creek over the past four days in an attempt to locate Knopsnider.

Water rescue teams also walked the area downstream from where Knopsnider went into the water to a section where the murky water was only about two feet deep, state police said.

Medic One divers arrived Friday morning and spent the day working with the Allegheny County Bomb Squad’s roving underwater vehicle, or ROV, equipped with an underwater camera to clear a 150-to-200-foot section of the creek. Divers pulled out of the water around 7:30 Friday evening, according to Medic One Director Darrick Gerano.

“Our plan today was initially to run a cadaver dog, which got some very strong hits, indicating to us that the gentleman was still in there,” Gerano said.

The group’s first attempt was sending the ROV down to search “a few of the dangerous spots,” Gerano said. “The problem was the current was so swift, they couldn’t control the ROV.”

Gerano said the shoreline in the area has a number of undercuts, some of which go back 30 feet under the creek bank, with a clearance height of only 18 to 24 inches in some spots.

“We ended up sending a diver down with the ROV to hit some of those tight spots,” Gerano said. “We were able to clear both sides today, but there are just so many undercuts. Any place we could reach, we got to today.”

It is believed Knopsnider lost his footing and hit his head on a rock as he jumped into water about 10 to 15 feet deep downstream of the falls, police said. The creek was swollen by a storm earlier Tuesday, creating a fast current.

Trooper Adam Janosko said one of Knopsnider’s friends told police he jumped in the water in an attempt to rescue Knopsider, but could not reach him.

The popular swimming hole is about two miles downstream of the Chaintown Road bridge. The creek separates Westmoreland and Fayette counties before emptying into the Youghiogheny River near the village of Jacobs Creek.

Kayla Grogan of Connellsville, a friend of the Knopsnider family, said everyone gathered along Chaintown Road on Friday appreciated the work the Murrysville Medic One crew did.

“They worked so hard all day,” Grogan said.

Grogan did not want to disclose search plans for Saturday, but said family and friends are planning to be back at the site around 8 a.m.

“But with the weather conditions and the heavy rains they’re calling for, that could (help) things,” Gerano said.

Staff writer Joe Napsha contributed to this report. Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Patrick at 412-871-8627, or via Twitter .

Categories: Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.