What is the semantic role of the direct object in the below sentence? If I'm not mistaken, the answer is 'patient' (since 'He' is doing something [in this case, 'crossing'] to the river). However, I find it difficult to understand why this is so (if indeed it is at all), since, unlike 'hitting' or 'eating', for example, the river can't really undergo 'crossing' (if you see what I mean). Ideas?
He crossed the river.