Five men decided to take a raft down the Croton River Sunday afternoon, as Tropical Storm Irene wound down.
They entered the river from Croton Gorge Park in Cortlandt at the base of the dam in a five-person inflatable.
The first call for rescue came in at 5:41 p.m.
- At 5:52 p.m. police officers found Joseph Ceglia, 33, of White Plains, clinging to a tree branch in the vicinity of Mayo's Landing. They pulled him from the water.
- At 6:02 p.m. got a call from Kenneth Gianquinto, 37, of Valhalla. He had floated downstream, made his way to the Ossining bank of the river, flagged a car down and called police on a cell phone.
- At 6:12 p.m. Michael Wolfert, 37, of Croton-on-Hudson, was located in the vicinity of 91 Trusedale. He had climbed ashore and out of the ravine.
- At 6:24 p.m. Croton police Lt. Russell Harper spotted Peter Engel, 53, of Cross River, in the rapids just south of Mayo's Landing. An inflatable police boat was able to pull him out. Engel was given CPR at Echo Landing and taken to Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, where he was pronounced dead.
- At 7:28 p.m. Brian Dooley, 33, of Yorktown, was located clinging to a tree limb in the rapids about 300 yards south of Silver Lake park. Emergency crews struggled to reach him by boat or helicopter. At about 8:45 p.m., he broke free. Within about 20 seconds he was out of the snag and racing downriver where he was rescued by Croton police officers in an inflatable river rescue boat in the area of Dickie's Cliffs. Suffering from hypothermia, he was taken to Echo Landing, then to Westchester Medical Center.
Three Croton firefighters also had to be rescued. One set of rescuers had been stationed at Echo Landing to look for victims at the mouth of the Croton River upstream from the Metro North trestle bridge.
As they put their boat into the river in the swift current, it overturned. Due to storm and tide, the level of the Croton River was almost up to the bottom of the railroad bridge. Three men were were swept under the bridge into the turbulent Hudson River, whipped by storm winds and surges. They were able to swim ashore at Croton Point south of the Croton-Harmon railroad yards.