A man died and eight others were rescued after their boat went over the Lake Linganore dam Saturday evening, leaving some stranded in the water as rescue crews raced to reach them.

Officials named Stephen Wade Hembree, 62, of New Market as the man who died in the boating accident. Hembree was operating the boat at the time of the accident, according Candy Thomson, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, the agency handling the investigation.

Rescue workers recovered the body almost five hours after the accident was first reported, according to Capt. Kevin Fox, a spokesman for the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services.

The eight who were rescued from the water were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, Fox said. Officials could not provide further details about the extent of their injuries.

Officials said this morning that two 17-year-old girls and a 15-year-old girl were rescued from the rocks.

Nine people ranging in age from teenagers to adults were on board a pontoon boat Saturday afternoon when the vessel went over the Lake Linganore dam, according to Thomson.

Upon hearing cries for help, neighbors called 911 at about 6:30 p.m., according to Fox.

Numerous emergency medical crews, fire personnel and deputies responded to the scene, which was in a remote area that included much foliage and hilly terrain.

Thomson said several people fell off the pontoon boat before it went over the dam, and a few were clinging to trees in the aftermath.

Three of the eight rescued were stranded on the spillway, clinging to rocks as a Maryland State Police helicopter hoisted them up to the aircraft one by one, according to Fox.

Others were pulled out of the water by first responders and neighbors, said Lt. Jason Null, of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

Details of why the nine people were boating after considerable rainfall Saturday were not available Saturday night, Null said. However, he noted weather probably played a factor in the accident.

The nine people were not boating with any company or group at the time of the accident, Null said, stating it was most likely a personal trip.

Even as rescuers ventured out late Saturday to recover the body, Thomson said that the water and weather conditions were “less than ideal,” and that the white water and pitch dark made it dangerous for them.

A group of people sat huddled on the curb near the area where rescuers went to recover the body, some crying and talking on the phone. A man standing nearby declined to talk to The Frederick News-Post.

“This is very sad. ... I feel for the families,” Thomson said.

Maryland Natural Resources Police will continue to investigate, Thomson said, speaking with the eight people who were rescued and any witnesses in hopes of “piecing together what happened” on the boat in those final moments.

Follow Paige Jones on Twitter: @paigeleejones.

Paige Jones covers business and biotech in Frederick County. She started at the paper in 2014 as a nighttime crime reporter before switching to business. A Kansas transplant in Maryland, she enjoys exploring the East Coast in her free time.

(14) comments


My heart goes out to Katherine and her daughter. Stephen was a good father and husband and will be missed greatly. My prayers and thoughts to you and yours.


Pray for the family.


When the lake is at normal level the pontoons will catch the concrete dam without going over. I would say they had done it before and were assuming the same results to watch the white water down below. It is a terrible loss for that one child family and a nightmare to the surviving kids and their families involved.


Great shots by Sam. [thumbup]

my name

The family dog was on the pontoon boat when it went over the dam 6/27. Please keep an eye out for her. Her name is Mimi and she is 1/2 pug and 1/2 Jack Russell. Wearing a collar as well as an invisible fence collar (before she went over). Please email with any information @ findmimi2015@gmail.com.


So very sad to hear of this and of the death of the 62 year old. Consider posting a photo and the information of the dog on Facebook. It is pretty amazing sometimes how social media can be of help in locating lost pups.


If you do post on Facebook, post the link here and then others who read this story and comments can find the link and post it to their pages.


Very sad. Condolences to victim and his family and friends. Agree with below that it's very possible the water near the dam was pulling really hard and the boats small motor didn't have enough thrust to pull out.

Kudos to the rescue workers on the ground and in the air. Good job getting those who survived back safely.




Well, were they wearing life jackets or not?


I miss him!


Sad story. I'm guessing they just underestimated how strong the current would be after all the rain. The lake only allows electric motors and it likely wasn't enough to break free once they got too close to the dam.

They should consider placing buoys to mark-out a 'no go' zone.


Weird, I have been on that lake a bunch and the water current is never a problem like other dams I have been around. That being said, just by the pictures, I have never seen that waterfall so robust. Probably something to due with the rain and amount of water. I have climbed on those very rocks before even crossing over to the other side, but also by looks of that picture, I have never climbed on them with that much water.



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!