Swimming hole's appeal unaffected by drowning

June 21, 1994|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Sun Staff Writer

A day after a Glen Burnie man drowned at the Savage Rapids in Howard County, teen-agers and young adults continued to pack the rock-lined swimming hole as if the accident had never happened.

"There's nothing going to stop me from coming here," said Andrew Little, 23, yesterday, when told of the death as he stood near some large rocks near the Little Patuxent River. "Stuff like this happens. You've just got to expect it."

Meanwhile, local police and park officials say they have no plans to close off the area, even though swimming is officially prohibited along that stretch of the Little Patuxent.

On Sunday, George Daniel Snyder of the 100 block of Jerome Parkway in Glen Burnie became the first person to die this year at the popular spot behind the Historic Savage Mill on Foundry Street in the southeastern part of the county.

The popular wooded swimming and diving spot, within the county's Savage Park, has sharp, jagged rocks, known as the Savage Rocks. To get to the swimming hole, visitors take several steep dirt trails.

Mr. Snyder, who friends said had been drinking, became separated from them at the site about 2 a.m. His body was found about 7:15 a.m. in 4 feet of water at the confluence of the Little Patuxent River and the Middle Patuxent River, 100 to 200 feet downstream from the rocks where he was last seen.

The State Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore said drowning was a cause of death but was still awaiting the results of further tests last night.

Police said Sunday that Mr. Snyder's skull had been cracked open.

"It almost appears he dove in or fell," said Lt. Michael Gearhart, a spokesman for county fire and rescue services. He added that one to two deaths and numerous injuries take place at the site each year.

Police say the spot has long been an attraction for young people, who often drink alcohol there, which is illegal. Police issue citations for alcohol violations and make arrests if people are found using drugs.

Yesterday afternoon, a police cadet talked to young people at the site, after the mill management complained about the swimming hole visitors parking on the mill's lot.

John Byrd, chief of the county's Bureau of Parks, said the county's Department of Recreation and Parks bans swimming at the park, which is open from dawn to dusk.

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