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Two boaters swim ashore after fishing craft sinks in Potomac

June 20, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources officer Bob Haney chats with fisherman Daniel Bowman Monday morning at Snyders Landing on the Potomac River. Bowman and a friend were in a fishing boat that filled with water Monday morning in the Potomac River near the Snyders Landing boat ramp.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

SHARPSBURG — Two men swam safely to shore after their fishing boat filled with water Monday morning in the Potomac River near the Snyders Landing boat ramp.

Daniel Bowman, who lives near Smithsburg, said in a brief interview after the accident that he was fishing for bass with his friend Mike Lama when the anchor of their boat “got loose.”

“The water was swift in that spot and we just went down,” Bowman said. “I’ve been in the river a lot of years and that’s the first time that’s happened.”

When asked how long he was in the water, Bowman said, “however long it takes to swim to shore.”

Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Mullendore said he believed the two men were in the water for about an hour.

Mullendore said he didn’t know a lot of details, but one of the men swam to the Maryland side of the river and the other swam to the West Virginia side.

Rescue personnel from the Potomac Valley Fire Co. used a boat to pick up the men from shore and return them to the Snyders Landing boat ramp, which is west of Sharpsburg.

Mullendore said he didn’t know how cold the water was when the accident happened at about 9 a.m., but one of the men was taken to Meritus Medical Center to be treated for hypothermia. He was treated and later released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mullendore said the river’s water level was a little above average Monday morning.

A water gauge at the boat ramp didn’t indicate that the water was dangerously high.

Mullendore said a Maryland State Police helicopter helped with the rescue, in addition to safety personnel from the Sharpsburg, Boonsboro and Potomac Valley fire departments.

“They (helicopter crew) come on all water rescues because they can go from Point ‘A’ to Point ‘B’ faster than us,” Mullendore said.

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