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Swimmers Take To Pennypack Creek — Despite Warnings

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(credit: CBS) Walt Hunter
Eyewitness News Reporter Walt Hunter is one of the market's ...
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By Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As temperatures rise, CBS 3 cameras found teenagers swimming in the same stretch of Pennypack Creek where two teenage boys died within weeks of each other last summer.

The teenagers were swimming and splashing almost directly below a bridge that’s railing is covered with handwritten memorials to those who have drowned here.

Less than 100 yards away is where 15-year-old Nicky Simonetti was swept away to his death trying to save a 14-year-old friend who also perished.

“There’s always something missing, a piece of your heart is gone forever,” Nicky’s mother, Beth Simonetti-Gallelli, told CBS 3’s Walt Hunter.

“Nicky’s body was found 2 1/2 miles downstream, wrapped in a tree limb,” adds Beth.

Mrs. Simonetti-Gallelli now speaks at schools — along with other families, police and firefighters — trying to convince teenagers about the dangers of swimming in the Pennypack and other waterways.

The spot where CBS 3 found teenagers swimming is marked by “no swimming signs,” but a city worker told Hunter the signs are torn down almost as soon as they are put up.

With the hot weather, Mrs. Simonetti-Gallelli recalled the terrible moments 18 years ago, making this plea to teenagers to find another way to stay cool:

“Please, be safe, stay out of the creek,” she implored other kids. “Don’t leave your mother, your families, with a lifetime of sadness.”

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