Friends of a beloved Philadelphia photographer are mourning the woman’s death after she was fatally swept away in a storm drain during a flash flood last weekend.
Rebecca Bunting, 30, and her boyfriend were inside a sewer by Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia taking photos around 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, when a rush of water came through and dragged them both down the system, police say.
The man was able to pull himself out, but Bunting was swept away. A neighbor told 6 ABC that he heard a man screaming for help Saturday night. He said he ran outside to find Bunting’s boyfriend screaming her name by the water.
A rescue team found her body around 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, trapped under furniture left in Pennypack Creek near Philadelphia’s Holmesburg neighborhood. In the wake of the death, Bunting’s boyfriend remembered her in a pair of Instagram posts.
“I’m glad I got to make so many memories with her. I love you so much Becca and I’m hurting so bad right now,” he wrote alongside a photo of the two posing together with wide smiles.
“Thinking back on all these memories makes me smile while these tears roll down my face. I will continue to share our memories since we had so many great ones. Please watch over your family and I, we really need it right now my love.”
Police say Bunting and her boyfriend entered the storm drain without permission to take part in “Urban Exploration,” in which they film their experiences while taking photos and footage at often abandoned locations.
“She was always trying to get really cool photos,” Bunting’s friend, Cristen DeDomenico, told 6 ABC. “She’s really talented. She could bring out beauty in any landscape.”
Bunting’s Instagram is filled with artistic photos of empty churches, plane wreckage, abandoned hospitals and other spaces. She amassed more than 15,000 followers on the social media site and often wrote of her love for photography.
“My camera is my tool,” she wrote alongside one Instagram photo of herself holding a camera. “Through it I give reason to everything around me.”
Friends have posted several tributes to Bunting on her Facebook page, and have announced a memorial for the artist scheduled for June 17.
“Words can’t express the heartache I feel in this moment. The world lost a truly amazing person Rebecca Bword Bunting …” one person wrote in a Facebook post. “Our weirdness and love for art quickly combined and you posed for a lot of MySpace worthy photoshoots (like this photo you climbed on a roof for) ha. We would spend days dressing up and taking pictures for fun.”
They continued: “We climbed rocks and “keep out” fences while exploring the places most people wouldn’t go. You always saw beauty in the things people took for granted. I loved having you as a neighbor and friend. You are an amazing soul that made an impact on the world through your work and existence. I’m grateful that I was able to meet such a beautiful person in my lifetime. Rest In Peace”