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Rescuers go to creek

June 16, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

For the third time in less than a week, rescuers were summoned to Antietam Creek next to the Creekside Inn Sunday evening for reports of people in the water and in trouble.

The screams of a woman yelling for help launched the latest rescue effort shortly before 7:30 p.m.

"Two people, an adult woman and a man, went into the creek at the dam," said Cpl. Chris Howard of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The woman, who had minor injuries, was treated by Community Rescue Service personnel at the scene, rescuers said.

The man was believed to still be in the water but as of 9:40 p.m., he had not been located, rescuers said.


Chief John Bentley of the Washington County Special Operations team led a group of divers into the murky waters around 9 p.m. as darkness fell.

"There is possibly someone in the middle of the creek, just off the Creekside Inn," Bentley said just before the rescue effort began. The search ended shortly before 10 p.m.

Assisting in the efforts were Community Rescue Service, Long Meadow Fire Co. personnel and the Hagerstown Fire Department. A Maryland State Police helicopter searched from the air.

"I put up fences and no-trespassing signs and it doesn't matter," said Marty Henicle, owner of the Creekside Inn. "People have been swimming in the Antietam for 100 years, long before my place was here."

Henicle said the dam is covered with moss and is extremely slippery.

"You slip and go under and that's it," he said.

Two Hagerstown men were rescued from the rushing, rain-swollen waters of the Antietam last Tuesday at nearly the same location.

The men, ages 18 and 21, got into trouble after one slipped on a rock and got swept over the dam, and the other tried to help.

When rescue crews from Long Meadow arrived, they tied ropes to two orange life jackets and floated them downstream to the men, who were standing shivering in the middle of the creek.

Firefighters with rescue ropes were positioned downstream in case the men lost their footing, Long Meadow Fire Co. Chief John Latimer IV said.

"The Antietam Creek was not made for swimming," Latimer said last Tuesday.

On Wednesday, emergency workers were called back to the creek for another water rescue. But when the Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co. arrived this time, the two people already had made their way to shore, Lt. Jason Eckstine said.

At about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, two girls who were with the men rescued the day before apparently got into trouble near the same spot, Eckstine said. They were found walking along the shoreline when rescue crews arrived, he said.

Emergency officials have warned the public about the dangers of the creek, especially with area creeks and streams at such high levels.

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