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Two Berkeley County boaters treated, released after vessel goes over Dam No. 4

July 23, 2008

WILLIAMSPORT - Two occupants of a boat that plunged over Dam No. 4 early Tuesday were treated for nonlife-threatening injuries at Washington County Hospital and released, Maryland Natural Resources Police Sgt. Ken Turner said.

Larry W. Luttrell, 54, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., and Jeffery L. Meyers, 34, of Martinsburg, W.Va., were in a 20-foot outboard motor vessel on the Potomac River when it went over the dam at about 5 a.m. Tuesday, Turner said.

Luttrell swam to shore and called 911 from a nearby house, but Meyers was unable to swim to shore, Turner said.

Meyers was plucked from a rock in the Potomac River by a Maryland State Police helicopter, Turner said.

Rescuers and boats from Williamsport, Potomac Valley, Fairplay and Halfway were joined by personnel from the Washington County Special Operations team when the first call came in at 4:57 a.m., according to emergency dispatchers.

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Turner said his agency was notified at 5:13 a.m.

The drop over Dam No. 4 is 20 to 25 feet, and neither of the men was wearing a life jacket, Turner said.

"These two individuals are very, very lucky," Turner said.

The approach to the dam is marked with two sets of buoys, Turner said. One set warns there is a restricted area ahead, and the other identifies the restricted area and warns boaters not to enter, he said. The buoys are marked with reflective tape and should be visible at night with the lights required for operating watercraft at night, Turner said.

Natural Resources Police are investigating the boaters' compliance with boating regulations, Turner said.

The incident was the second time in two weeks someone has survived a fall over a Potomac River dam in Washington County.

Ryan A. Myers, 22, of Clear Spring, was cited last week after he operated a motorized personal watercraft in the restricted area near Dam No. 5 and fell about 20 feet over the dam on July 14.

- Heather Keels and Marlo Barnhart

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