Police Patrol Driver George Yencha, in a valiant effort to recover the body of the East End young man, almost lost his life at 10 o’clock last night. The river is unusually high for this time of year and there is a strong undercurrent in the narrow stretch between the gas house shore and the island above the North street bridge. Policeman Yencha and Thomas Conwell worked for several hours with grappling hooks, their task being made difficult by the swift current which made rowing an impossibility except for strong men.
Yencha, who is a good swimmer, decided to forsake the grappling hooks after the row boat had been almost capsized several times and two hooks had been carried away. He dived dozens of times but could not locate the body and in a final effort to get to the bottom of the channel, was caught in the undercurrent, drawn into a whirlpool and, while hundreds of spectators nervously shouted for some one to assist him, battled for his life. Yencha was held in the undercurrent for several minutes and at last fought his way to less rapid water near the island in the middle of the river. The policemen then gave up the effort to recover the body and the work will be taken up early this morning farther down*stream.
Gill, according to his companions, selected the deepest part of the channel for his diving and after making his way out of the swift current several times, gave a long jump from the rocks. The high water has covered a ledge of rock that juts out over the surface under normal conditions and Gill struck his head on the edge of this rock. His companions saw him come up once and say that he made no effort to save himself and he was carried into the undercurrent to his death. The companions, all East End young men who were enjoying a swim after their work in the Sheldon plant, express their belief that Gill was unconscious when he struck the water after the big dive. A younger brother was at the scene when Gill drowned and carried the young man’s clothes to police station.
The Wilkes-Barre Record - July 18, 1917