Two Missing Boaters Found Dead on Wicomico River

Two Salisbury men, out in a jon boat last Wednesday evening on the Wicomico River, have been found dead, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding their deaths.

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) got reports of a body found in the Wicomico, north of the Whitehaven Ferry. When they got there, officers found an anchored jon boat partially submerged in the river.

The body was recovered and identified as 60-year-old Hans Ellingsen of Salisbury. Then, an NRP aircraft searching south of the Whitehaven ferry found the body of the second boater, 63-year-old Terry Martin, also from Salisbury. Martin’s body was recovered Thursday morning, three miles away from where the jon boat was anchored.

NRP spokesperson Lauren Moses tells Bay Bulletin the jon boat had both fishing and crabbing gear on board. They’re still investigating how and why both men went overboard.

The Medical Examiner’s office is doing an autopsy on both victims’ bodies.

NRP says there have been 18 boating deaths in Maryland this year. This summer, six people died in accidents on the water during the 4th of July week alone (details in Bay Bulletin here). That’s up from 16 total fatalities in 2018, and nine in 2017. The deadliest year for boating in the last two decades came in 2015, when 21 people died on Maryland waters.

NRP and other agencies have been pushing boaters to wear a life jacket every time they hit the water.

-Meg Walburn Viviano