Baby dead, 2 missing in water accidents

Searches continuing for men who disappeared

August 12, 2002|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Two men were missing and a 1-year-old baby was killed in unrelated boating and swimming accidents on Maryland waterways during the weekend, authorities reported.

The Coast Guard was to resume its search at sunrise today near the Bay Bridge for a 45-year-old Baltimore County man who disappeared in a boating accident. The man, identified as James Thomas, was riding with four family members in a 16-foot runabout that apparently sank near Sandy Point State Park between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.

The others made it to shore about 6 a.m. yesterday after being in the water for about eight hours, said state Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chuck Porcari. The survivors were Thomas' 8-year-old son, his cousin Frank Michael Thomas, 43, of Columbia, and his two sons, ages 11 and 12. A dog also survived, Porcari said.

The four were carried by wind and currents, and reached shore at Podickory Point south of the Magothy River, where they called for help at a nearby residence. The three boys were wearing life jackets, and Thomas was using a boat seat cushion as a flotation device, Porcari said, adding that the survivors were in good condition.

Anne Arundel County fireboats were first in the water shortly after 6 a.m., and the Coast Guard took over the search at 6:30 a.m. from the water and air, authorities said.

Yesterday's search focused on a 25-square-mile area from the Bay Bridge to Gibson Island. Porcari said the boat left Deep Creek, off the Magothy River, and began taking on water late Saturday. The survivors told DNR police that the boat sank at its dock a few weeks earlier, but that the leak had been repaired, he said.

A search was also continuing on the Potomac River for a Charles County man who disappeared yesterday afternoon while swimming with friends from a boat.

Christopher Mantier Gaines, 38, of Nanjemoy was seen struggling in the 12-foot-deep waters near Nanjemoy Creek about 12:40 p.m., then went under several yards from shore, Porcari said.

Maryland's DNR police also were investigating the drowning of a year-old Virginia boy Saturday afternoon in the Potomac River after his family's fishing boat capsized near the Virginia shore, south of Piney Point in St. Mary's County.

The 16-foot open boat, carrying a family of five from Timberville, Va., overturned about 1 p.m. when the occupants tried to move it without pulling up the anchor, Porcari said.

Attempts to revive the baby, Dylan Kyle Sherman, were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at Riverside Hospital in Tappahannock, Va., Porcari said. Other members of the family were not identified.

No one in the boat was wearing a life jacket, the spokesman said.

Sun staff writer Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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