Body found in Pennypack Creek

Philadelphia police marine unit officers inside Pennypack creek as they search for a missing youth. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

A body was pulled from Pennypack Creek this morning, near where a teenage boy was swept into the water earlier this week.

The Philadelphia Fire Department says rescue crews were dispatched to the rain-swollen creek near Holme and Winchester avenues at about 6:30 a.m.

It wasn't immediately known whether the body was that of 13-year-old Brandon Boyle, who went missing Monday while playing in the creek. His 11-year-old brother also was playing in the water, but made it out of the creek.

The body pulled from the creek was a male, said Officer Christine O'Brien, a Philadelphia police spokeswoman. No other details about the person's identity, including his age, were available this morning.

O'Brien said the medical examiner's office has taken the body will and perform an autopsy. It wasn't immediately known how long that would take.

A passerby called 911 and reported the body in the creek, authorities said. 

Emergency crews have spent the past three days searching for Brandon, with firefighters and police marine units diving into the rough waters to look for the teenager. The search efforts began after an off-duty police officer who was running in the area and heard 11-year-old Anthony Boyle's screams.

Officials had deemed the operation a recovery mission, though Brandon's family members had said they still hoped the boy would be found alive.

The creek, which the brothers jumped into from a pedestrian bridge on Monday afternoon, was swollen after days of rain. Thunderstorms had soaked the region on a near-daily basis on the days leading up to the teen's disappearance.

Brandon's father told the Daily News earlier this week that his son was a strong swimmer and the children had played in the creek before.

Between 2005 and 2009, there were 615 drowning deaths across Pennsylvania, including the deaths of 137 youths under age 20, according to data from the state Department of Health. Drowning was the sixth-leading cause of injury deaths for people ages 19 and younger during that time period.

For children ages 1 to 14, drowning is the second-highest cause of death fron unintentional injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says about half of all drowning deaths occur in natural water settings, like creeks, lakes, rivers or oceans. Male victims account for 88 percent of all natural-water drowning deaths.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.