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Pennsylvania man drowns in quarry

May 19, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Divers pulled the body of an 18-year-old Chambersburg man from the cold waters of an abandoned quarry Tuesday afternoon, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

The victim, Esvin Gramago, formerly of Trenton, N.J., had been swimming with a half-dozen friends in the Edenville quarry along Mountain Road in St. Thomas Township, police said.

He apparently drowned, police said. An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine the cause of death, according to Trooper Gary Carter, the investigating officer.

Police provided few details about the incident.

Gramago and his friends, including four boys and two girls, all appeared to be in their mid- to late teens, police said.

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Several of the people were cited for criminal trespassing, police said.

An area resident said he swims at the limestone quarry regularly during the summer and that it is a popular swimming spot for many area teens and adults.

The witness, who would not give his name, said the quarry, which is walled with 60-foot-high limestone cliffs on most of its sides, is about 25 feet deep at its bottom. He said the water, which is spring-fed, was about 40 degrees on Tuesday.

There are few places where the shoreline enters the water gradually. In most places where people swim, it drops off immediately from the shore.

Jeff Clopper, chief of the Franklin Fire Department, said divers found the victim's body about 20 feet from shore in about 11 feet of water. It took them about 30 minutes to find the body because they had been told by the victim's friends to search toward the middle of the quarry, about 50 feet from shore.

The Fayetteville (Pa.) Fire Department's water rescue unit and Greg Shaffer, assistant chief of the Pleasant Hall (Pa.) Fire Department, pulled the body from the water shortly after 3:30 p.m., Clopper said.

The call came in at 2:21 p.m., officials said.

Catherine Conner, whose family owns the quarry and the farm surrounding it off Bricker Road, said swimming is not allowed there.

"We posted four no-trespassing signs earlier this month and they took them down. We put up two more yesterday telling people it's off limits," she said.

Conner said her father, Walker Martin, leased land for the quarry to a Camp Hill, Pa., company that mined the limestone during World War II.

"A lot of the stone that was used to build Letterkenny (Army Depot) came from here," Conner said.

She said the quarry hasn't been used for more than 50 years.

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