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Michael Gelovich: At home Thursday night, May 18, I was paged by Sgt Shawn !

ougherty, o" the #hiladelphia #olice Marine $nit, instructing me to come down and suit up in dive gear %&e had a pier collapse in the !elaware 'iver,% he said %#eople may be trapped % A hal"(hour later, I was aboard )uic*(response +oat ,o - with "our other divers ( .pl Allen .raig and #olice /""icers 0merson Alleyne, .harles 1eggins and 2oseph Allan They had 3ust been on patrol in the area, passing the 4eat5s pier, waving to patrons, 3ust be"ore its collapse +y the time +oat - reached #enn5s 6anding, we had heard over radio that people were in trouble &e circled bac* and observed people in the water The crew pluc*ed 17 out The #hiladelphia 1ire !epartment and 4eavy 'escue 1 pulled the rest to sa"ety 4ad it not been "or the )uic* response o" the #olice and 1ire departments, this catastrophe could have been "ar worse +y 8:19, Marine $nit dive supervisor Michael Gelovich had been in the river 19 minutes, searching "or people possibly trapped under the debris I was tending him with a communications line, used to spea* with the diver while he is under water :isibility was ;ero, usually the case in the !elaware and Schuyl*ill, even be"ore stirring up the silt on the bottom <ero visibility in clean "ish ponds, la*es and streams outside #hiladelphia is probably no big thing, but in #hiladelphia5s rivers, divers must also contend with barbed wire, shopping carts, bicycles, tubes, tunnels, holes, re"rigerators, sun*en autos, sharp steel support bars 3utting "rom eroded concrete bridges, tree limbs, "ishing lines and yes, even a *itchen sin* A"ter -7 minutes o" searching, with wooden plat"orms and metal collapsing around him, I called Sgt Gelovich in All dives were then canceled until the debris could be moved 1or three days, we were in the water, rigging debris "or the Army .orps o" 0ngineers Sadly, the bodies o" three people were pulled out by the 1ire !epartment In my years in the Marine $nit, we have saved hundreds o" people, twice receiving a unit commendation &e are all human and ma*e mista*es The #olice and 1ire departments are "air game "or the media, but we always respond when called upon I than* those who o""ered assistance ( the .oast Guard, #ennsylvania 1ish and +oat .ommission, Army .orps o" 0ngineers, ,ew 2ersey State #olice, .amden .ity 1ire !epartment, .amden .ounty !ive Team, !elaware .ounty 'escue, .umberland .ounty, , 2 , 'escue, the pilot boat .ape May, the Tel"ord !ive Team and help"ul civilian boaters &ithout you, the evening o" May 18 could have been much worse =o;in is an o""icer on the #hiladelphia #olice Marine $nit !ive Team