Police seek body of man lost in bay

January 16, 1992

Natural Resources Police continued searching yesterday for a Catonsville duck hunter believed to have drowned off Kent Island.

Thomas H. Mitchell, 39, of the 1100 block of Newfield Road was one of five people who went hunting in a 23-foot chartered powerboat that capsized about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, about 900 yards south of Bodkin Island, according to police.

When the hunters started toward shore, the boat ran over its anchor line, turning it so that the waves caused by high winds started crashing over the stern of the boat, said Anthony Diehl, 29, of Parkville, a survivor. The hunting guide, Columbus L. Swonger Jr., 53, of Chester, tried to straighten the boat out, but it soon capsized, sending all five passengers into the water, he said.

Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Diehl, Mr. Swonger and the other two men -- identified as Greg Moseley, 34, of Baltimore and Sam Williams, 44, of Arlington, Va. -- were able to swim to the overturned boat and cling to it.

Although the boat was equipped with life preservers, none of the men was wearing one, Mr. Diehl said.

Mr. Diehl was holding onto Mr. Mitchell when a wave swept both of them from the boat.

Mr. Diehl said he was able to grab the boat's rudder, but Mr. Mitchell went under and apparently drowned.

The survivors were in the water for more than two hours until they were rescued by a waterman who spotted their floating life jackets and then saw them clinging to the overturned boat, police said.

Mr. Sponger and Mr. Williams were treated for hypothermia at the Anne Arundel Medical Center, police said.

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