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Joseph Novack, 75, Identified as Man Found in Icy Monocacy Creek

The 75-year-old may have fallen in trying to clear debris caught under bridge.

Updated: 7:41 a.m.

Police have identified the man who fell into the icy Monocacy Creek Wednesday as Joseph Novack, 75, of Steuben Road in .

In a search that lasted more than two hours, police recovered the body of the man in the flooded creek.

The man's son reported his father missing at 2 p.m. Wednesday with a strong suspicion that he had fallen into the creek, prompting a rescue effort that included boats, divers and a state police helicopter.

Novack periodically used a rake to clear debris that catches under a bridge at the creek off Township Line Road, police were told by his son. The man was last seen around 7 a.m. His son returned home, found the man's rake leaning across the bridge and reported the man missing, according to Deputy Chief James DePalma. The first reports of a person possibly lost in the creek came in around 2 p.m.

A helicopter joined the search shortly after 3 p.m. Emergency crews issued a mutual aid call requesting divers from station 40 in Lehigh County. At least three boats were brought to the scene.

Colonial Regional police and Hecktown volunteer firefighters were among the first responders. Water rescue crews from Cementon, Whitehall and Northampton were assisting, along with volunteer firefighters from Nancy Run.

The Monocacy Creek flows into the Lehigh River in Bethlehem.

More flooding is feared as heavy rain moves into our area Thursday. The forecast of three or more inches has led to the National Weather Service issuing a flood watch for Lehigh and Northampton counties. Snow melt upstream could extend the flood threat into the weekend - especially as water flows downstream into the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.

Sarah Larson March 11, 2011 at 04:51 AM
That's just so terrible. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Novack's family.

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