Divers recovered the man who fell from an anchored boat four hours after he was last seen. Photo courtesy of Charlestown Fire Company.

Sassafras River Boater Drowns after Fall from Anchored Boat

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) are investigating two dangerous incidents that happened Saturday night in upper Bay rivers, one of which ended in tragedy.

NRP tells Bay Bulletin that a man fell from an anchored boat in the Sassafras River in Kent County, Maryland, Saturday evening and did not resurface. Several agencies responded to the area west of Skipjack Cove Marina in Georgetown around 6 p.m. for the reported drowning.

Maryland State Police and NRP aviation crews, the Galena and Charlestown volunteer fire companies, Coast Guard and the New Castle County Dive team from Delaware all worked to find the missing man.

The Charlestown Fire Company’s marine unit served as a dive platform for the New Castle County divers. Fire company spokesman Mike Walsh says in the last dive attempt of the night, a diver found and recovered the victim’s body. He was found in about 25 feet of water in the same area where he was last seen four hours earlier.

Walsh “couldn’t say enough about the total teamwork it took to bring the man’s family some closure,” he told us. The Galena Volunteer Fire Company posted in a statement on Facebook, “Although this is not the outcome we strive for, this allows for closure to family and loved ones of the victim. We would like to thank all of our mutual aid partners for their assistance.”

As NRP investigates that case, they are also actively investigating a different incident the same night on the Elk River. Police say a powerboat struck a day marker, but are releasing few details. The report came into local fire departments that a boat apparently struck a piling, injuring two people. The two were reportedly being treated at Union Hospital in Elkton, Maryland. Police only say the investigation is “open and ongoing”.

-Meg Walburn Viviano