Searchers comb river for body of Cecil County man

Cadaver dogs, sonar and aircraft to be used to find 49-year-old lost in a boating accident

August 16, 2010|By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun

Searchers have resumed combing the Elk River for the body of a 49-year-old Cecil County man who was lost in the water Saturday after a boating accident. Deforrest Timlin, who lived in Rising Sun, is presumed to have drowned.

Because of the threat of thunderstorms, police planned to conduct only surface searches Monday. On Tuesday, when the weather is expected to improve, the plan is to use cadaver dogs, divers, sonar equipment and aircraft, according to Sgt. Art Windemuth, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources police.

Timlin went missing Saturday night when the 28-foot Power Quest boat he was piloting hit a buoy near Elk Neck State Park. His passenger, Eric Pryor, was rescued and flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with injuries that appeared not to be life-threatening.

Police said they suspected that alcohol played a role in the accident. A search for Timlin by the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies was suspended on Sunday afternoon.

Windemuth said this morning that his agency had assumed control of what is now a recovery operation. He said DNR officials have asked the Maryland State Police for air support in the search, and that divers were standing by to plumb the river's depths, which range in that area from 60 to 100 feet.

So-called "side scan" sonar, a piece of equipment normally towed behind a vessel, was used Sunday in the search and will be used again once the weather gets better, Windemuth said. The sonar gives searchers a representation of the river's floor and highlights unusual objects.

Cadaver dogs will be brought in on Tuesday if Timlin's body has not shown up before then. Windemuth said that the scent of a decomposing body will rise to the water's surface — much as it would hover in the air from a body lying on the ground — and that the dogs would then be able to point to its approximate location.

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