2 teens drown in Bronx River

July 19, 2010 3:28:20 PM PDT
A 17-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl drowned in the Bronx River after the teenage boy tried to save the female victim.

David Luccioni, Jr. says his 17 year old son knew better than to swim near the dangerous waterfall.

In fact, his son was just hanging out with friends, when he saw 15-year-old Crystal Reyes struggling in the water.

With his boots still on, he jumped in to save her.

His father is not surprised by his son's instincts.

Instead of saving her, David Luccioni struggled as well, and was overcome by the turbulent water.

A low fence surrounds the area and a sign that prohibits swimming is posted.

Area residents would like to see more security here, but acknowledge but that kids tend to take risks to keep cool.

There were 20 teenagers in the area when the drownings happened, and hours after the tragedy, kids were back in the same spot, oblivious to the dangers.

Now, two families are left grieving.

At the home of David Luccioni and 15-year-old Crystal Reyes, their family, friends, and neighbors' lives are shattered.

"My heart just collapsed when they told me," said David Luccioni, the boy's father.

"I seen them drowning. And then when I see them they didn't come back up from the water so, me and my friend drove in to save them but we couldn't because the water was coming up and getting dirty," said eyewitness, Santiago Shulterbrndt.

David's twin brother Lordes and other tried frantically to save them, but it was no use. Firefighters had a tough time finding them in the murky water.

David's father says his son was a good student at Grace Dodge High School and had plans for the future.

"He wanted to become a lawyer. If he didn't become a lawyer, he wanted to become a computer tech and move to California," adds Luccioni.

Ffirefighters and the police scuba team pulled the teenagers from the water around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

"They were diving under debris trying to find these people. They took it upon themselves to expose themselves to the dangers of not only the water but the waterfall. Diving under debris trying to find these people," said Deputy Chief Jay Jonas, of the FDNY.

"He looked white and bluish," said eyewitness, Maritza Burgos.

Their lifeless bodies were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, and both were pronounced dead.

"Life is so short you have to appreciate every moment," Rosa Clemente said.

Some community leaders and neighbors wondered if the area is too accessible and too tempting on a hot day when kids want to cool off.

"This is a poor man's swimming pool. This is where we came to learn how to swim and cool off," Conrad Landis said.