APG soldier, 19, drowns at Rocks State Park

19-year-old soldier at Aberdeen Proving Ground has not been identified

May 27, 2011|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

A 19-year-old soldier from Aberdeen Proving Ground drowned Friday while swimming at Rocks State Park in Jarrettsville, Natural Resources Police said.

Rescue crews were called to the park just after 4 p.m. to search for the man, who had been swimming with friends when he went under, said Sgt. Art Windemuth, Natural Resources Police spokesman.

Windemuth said the man was swimming with five others in the Deer Creek area of the park, near Rocks Chrome Hill Road, when they heard him call for help. The other swimmers searched for the man but were unable to find him and called 911.

Rescue units with about 100 volunteers searched for the soldier for about two hours until his body was located, Windemuth said.

The man's body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy. His name is being withheld until family members are notified, Windemuth said. Military personnel will release his identify, he said.

Windemuth said swimming is permitted in the narrow section of the creek, which is about 100 feet wide, with steep cliffs and swift rapids. The depth of the water ranges from several inches to eight feet, he said.

"If people aren't careful, the swift water can pull them down," Windemuth said, adding that swimmers can become caught between rocks. Last June, a 31-year-old Edgewood man drowned in the same swimming area.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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