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River search turns up empty

February 12, 2001|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

River search turns up empty



WILLLIAMSPORT - Rescue workers in boats and a helicopter searched the Potomac River in vain Monday evening for a man believed to have jumped off the U.S. 11 bridge.

Williamsport Fire Chief William Ball said a report was made around 8:40 p.m. that an 81-year-old Hagerstown man was missing. The man was said to have talked previously about jumping in the river at either Riverbottom Park or the Interstate 81 bridge in Williamsport.

The man was said to have been missing since 9 a.m. Ball said he didn't know why the call for the search came so late in the evening.

The searchers gathered at Riverbottom Park and the boats were sent out to look for the man with the help of spotlights. A Maryland State Police helicopter flew over the area, shining a spotlight on the water.

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The area was also illuminated by Williamsport Fire and Rescue vehicles equipped with outdoor lights.

Ball said the boats started their search at the U.S. 11 bridge and then continued looking downstream working in a grid pattern.

The search lasted for more 40 minutes before it was canceled at about 10 p.m.

Ball said the diver's weren't looking forward to going into the water because of the frigid temperatures.

"Even though they are well equipped, it's still a trauma," he said.

The Potomac River's water temperature Monday was evening in the 30s, he said.

Despite what appeared to be a false alarm, Ball said the search wasn't a waste of time because it provided an opportunity for practicing water rescue skills.

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