A television news videotape of the drowning of two Binghamton firefighters in 1975 continues to be used in training emergency workers.

The 15-minute tape documents the tragic sequence of events at the Rockbottom Dam that resulted in the deaths of city Fire Chief John Cox and Captain Donald McGeever.

The men died on September 29, 1975, the day after firefighter John Russell drowned while trying to rescue two men whose raft had capsized on the flood-swollen river.

The news video was recorded by a WICZ-TV crew that was on the scene as the firefighters went into the Susquehanna in an effort to recover the body of their colleague.

Emergency services training experts say the drownings demonstrate the extreme danger of "lowhead" dams, like the Rockbottom.

The small dams may appear harmless but they can create treacherous conditions, especially after heavy rain.

Veteran radio and television reporter Bob Huckabone discussed the tragedy on Monday's Binghamton Now program. He and colleague Nick Horsky were positioned near the river behind the Park Diner.

Huckabone said the news team recorded about 40 minutes of the fire department operations on videotape.

A Binghamton man who called the program recounted his own close call at the Rockbottom Dam in 1985. He said he nearly lost his life 30 years ago this week at the same site where the firefighters had drowned a decade earlier.

View the graphic WICZ-TV news video of the 1975 Susquehanna River tragedy in Binghamton.

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