MD: Hunters rescued after being stranded on Potomac River in single-digit temperatures


Three duck hunters are OK after becoming stranded in their boat on an icy Potomac River for about two hours Saturday morning, emergency service officials said.

The call for the stranded hunters in a disabled boat downstream of the Dargan boat ramp came in shortly after 8 a.m., a Washington County 911 supervisor said.

Rescuers were able to bring the hunters ashore a little after 10 a.m., the 911 supervisor said.

The National Weather Service’s closest weather station to that area was to the north in Shepherdstown, where the air temperature was about 2 degrees at 8 a.m. and had risen to 13 degrees by 10 a.m., said meteorologist Connor Belak with the Baltimore/Washington forecast office. Winds were calm around that time so the station didn’t report wind chill readings, he said.

The hunters were dressed for the cold weather, Otzelberger said.

They also were wearing their personal floatation devices, said Oley Griffith, coordinator of volunteer services with the Washington County Division of Emergency Services.

First-responders on rescue boats would break a channel out, clear away the ice and the ice would come behind the boat and clog the motor so it would have to be cleared out, Otzelberger said.

Responding rescue boats were from Potomac Valley Fire; Jefferson County, W.Va.; Brunswick, Md.; Frederick County, Md., and a Washington County Division of Emergency Services boat stationed at Sharpsburg fire hall, officials said.

Otzelberger said 31 emergency service personnel responded, including from Potomac Valley, Sharpsburg fire and EMS companies, Brunswick ambulance and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.


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