Missing Ligonier Valley grad identified as rescuers search Quemahoning Reservoir
Dive teams on Wednesday continued to search Somerset County’s Quemahoning Reservoir for Joey Dubics, an 18-year-old Ligonier Valley graduate who disappeared beneath the water Monday afternoon.
A member of of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department dive team, who did not give his name, confirmed social media reports of Dubics’ identity.
Dubics was a football star at Ligonier Valley High School, named to the Trib’s All Star team last year.
He went missing shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, according to a county 911 supervisor.
George McFarland, head of the Greensburg dive team, said Dubics was out on the water with a group of friends. He was on a paddleboard when he dropped his hat and sunglasses. He dove in after them, surfaced once for air, dove again and never resurfaced, according to McFarland.
Searches Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful. The search was ongoing as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Shanksville dive team.
Dubics was a running back and linebacker at Ligonier Valley and was captain of the team that won consecutive PIAA District 6 Class 2A titles.
“He is one of the best kids we’ve ever coached,” said Corey Turcheck, the school’s athletic director and assistant football coach. “He was a super kid. I went numb when I heard the news.”
Teammate Aaron Tutino described Dubics as a good player and a good friend.
“Dubics was the hardest working, most respectful, and best captain I’ve ever played with,” Tutino said via Twitter direct message.
Crews used sonar to search areas of the reservoir, with divers descending between 15 feet and 100 feet into the water, according to Scalp Level-Paint Deputy Fire Chief David Boyer. In deeper levels, divers had to pause to decompress when they returned to the surface, he said.
The search area is in the deepest part of the reservoir, almost 90 feet, McFarland said.
Sonar is much less effective at that depth. There are numerous hazards for searchers, including a lack of light, McFarland said.
“It becomes a very dangerous situation for the divers,” he said.
Other units involved in Wednesday’s search include fire departments from Conemaugh Township, Jerome and Shanksville, a water rescue team from Somerset County, an emergency response team from Cambria County and dive teams from Greensburg and Murrysville. Drones were requested from a Somerset County search team on Monday.
State police are investigating.
The reservoir is north of Route 30 and east of Route 219, near Hollsopple.
Jeff Himler and Jacob Tierney are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @jhimler_news. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, email@example.com or via Twitter @Soolseem. Staff writer Paul Schofield contributed.