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.