"I shouldn't have been out there," says Clear Spring man after tumble over Potomac dam

July 16, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Ryan A. Myers figures he fell about 20 feet Monday night when he went over Dam 5 on the Potomac River.

Myers, 22, of Clear Spring, said he got too close to the dam while riding a motorized personal watercraft. As the watercraft fell, he jumped off, he said.

When he landed, he was conscious and felt OK, he said. His watercraft was near him, and he got on it and rode to shore, he said.

Then, he walked barefoot two miles back to Four Locks, where he and his friend entered the water earlier on separate watercraft.


Myers' brief disappearance launched a search that included police and ambulance crews who didn't know he had gotten out of the water and gone to Four Locks, which is north of Williamsport.

As a precaution, a Maryland State Police helicopter later took him to Washington County Hospital, where he was treated and released.

"He's fine," Ryan's father, state delegate LeRoy E. Myers Jr., said Tuesday. "We're very fortunate and very thankful."

On their watercraft, Ryan Myers and his friend rode past a set of warning buoys, then past a second set of buoys, marking a restricted area about 200 yards from the dam, Sgt. Ken Turner of the Maryland Natural Resources Police said.

"I shouldn't have been out there," Ryan Myers said.

As of noon Tuesday, no charges had been filed. Police still were investigating, Turner said.

Dam 5 is about 20 feet high, according to Bill Justice of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Turner said a fall like Myers' usually turns out much worse.

"At a minimum, you would be seriously injured," he said.

LeRoy Myers said his son might have avoided a bad injury by accelerating before he fell, which helped him land past the turbulent water at the bottom of the dam.

He called the experience "unsettling."

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