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Two injured when watercraft goes over dam

June 26, 2011

CLEAR SPRING — An 8-year-old boy and his mother were taken to different hospitals Sunday with nonlife-threatening injuries after the personal watercraft on which they were riding went over Dam No. 5 on the Potomac River, Clear Spring Fire Sgt. Cody Hunter said.

The incident was reported around 3:10 p.m. at Dam No. 5 south of Clear Spring, according to Washington County Emergency Services.

Despite signs in the area warning people of the dam, the 28-year-old Germantown, Md., woman — who was operating the watercraft — was unfamiliar with the structure, Sgt. Brian Albert of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

The signs on the river tell people not to get within 200 yards of the dam and there also are buoys in the water to mark the area around the dam, Albert said.

By the time rescuers arrived, civilians had pulled the boy and his mother out of the river and onto a nearby spillway, Hunter said. Rescuers used a rope system to get both patients up the embankment.

A Maryland State Police helicopter took the boy, who has a possible broken leg, to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Hunter said. The helicopter landed at Clear Spring High School.

The boy’s mother was taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center with minor injuries, according to Albert and Hunter.

Dam No. 5 Road and Ashton Road were closed during the rescue.

In addition to Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Department, Clear Spring Ambulance Club, Williamsport Volunteer Fire & Emergency Medical Services, Washington County Special Operations and Potomac Valley Fire Co.  responded to the call.

The last unit cleared the scene at 5:48 p.m., Hunter said.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police were investigating the incident, Hunter said.

— Julie E. Greene

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