Child falls off boat, drowns at Raystown Lake

A child died Wednesday morning after falling in Raystown Lake.

Jamari Benjamin, 13 months, of Ephrata fell from a houseboat into the lake. Marklesburg Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched about 8 a.m., Fire Chief Marlin Hunsicker said. Hunsicker would not comment further because the incident is under investigation.

State police called the death an accidental drowning.

A good Samaritan operating a boat on the lake helped transport the child and parents to meet emergency personnel on shore, according to a state police news release. State police are seeking to identify the boater, and anyone with information is asked to call 627-3161.

The child was taken to J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital in Huntingdon and was pronounced dead about 9:40 a.m., Huntingdon County Coroner Paul Sharum said. An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon.

This was the third drowning at Raystown Lake this season.

Francesca “Chessie” Marie Harris, 36, of Carlisle died late July 3 after getting trapped behind the double doors of the cuddy cabin beneath the deck of a boat when it sank after hitting the rocky shoreline.

Harris was wearing a life jacket, but that might have prevented her escape from the cuddy cabin.

Dustin Scott Weyandt, 23, of Duncansville drowned while attempting to swim across a cove on June 17.