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Potomac River tuber clung to rock overnight until rescued by anglers

May 20, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

BRUNSWICK, Md. — A Frederick, Md.-area man who was tubing on the Potomac River with friends Saturday and got separated from them clung to a rock overnight in a T-shirt and shorts until Washington County fishermen heard his yells for help Sunday morning, a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police officer said Sunday.

The 36-year-old man was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital as a precaution Sunday morning because he had been in the cold water overnight, and was released from the hospital later that morning, Cpl. Russell Boback said.

Emergency crews, including a Maryland State Police helicopter, searched for the man Saturday night, calling the search off around midnight for safety reasons, and were about to resume the search at about 7 a.m. Sunday when they discovered fishermen found the man, Boback said.

The man was unfamiliar with the river and when he got separated from his friends, he continued downstream and ended up going through some rough water before his tube crashed against a rock, Boback said.

The man was last seen by his friends at about 6 p.m. Saturday as he went under the U.S. 340 bridge heading toward Brunswick, Boback said. The area under the bridge is treacherous because there are many rocks, Boback said.

The man held onto his tube, but was not wearing a life jacket, Boback said.

“Fortunately, it all ended well,” Boback said.

Boback said the man saw the helicopter on Saturday, but was afraid to let go of the rock, he said.

The fishermen, one from Hagerstown and another from the Smithsburg area, heard the man’s faint yell Sunday morning and went to check on the situation, Boback said. They took the man to the Brunswick boat ramp, he said.

Boaters gave the man food and water while he warmed up in a vehicle, Boback said.

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