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DNR Police Urge People To Be Safe Around Water

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Coast Guard has called off its involvement for a missing boater presumed dead in the Magothy.  DNR police says they’ll continue to search for the body.

Derek Valcourt explains it’s the latest in a string of deadly accidents on Maryland waters this summer.

Not just boating deaths but drownings, too.  Police say it is shaping up to be one of the deadliest summers on the water in years.

A WJZ viewer captured video of a boat spinning in circles on the Magothy River moments after ejecting its two passengers.  One of them survived, but James Robert Kane, 25, of Pasadena is still missing.  DNR police are now using divers and sonar to try to locate his body.

“It’s a very wide area.  We don’t know exactly where the accident occurred at,” said DNR Police Sgt. Robert Windemuth.

That tragedy came the same day 6-year-old Saquan Kennedy drowned in the waters of Sandy Point State Park after he went swimming with some of his young friends.

“I saw a little girl sitting on the beach and she was crying, saying, `I can’t find him, I can’t find him,'” said Nasheau Williams.

His death is one of several in Maryland waters since Memorial Day, including the death of a 19-year-old soldier who drowned in the rapid waters of a creek in Harford County’s Rock State Park and 14-year-old Olivia Constants who died after her sailboat capsized and her harness became tangled in sailing lines.

DNR police blame the weather for an increase in fatalities.

“We didn’t have much of a spring.  It went right from winter straight to 80, 90 degree days in May and as soon as we hit those hot, dry days, people turned to the water for relief and we’re seeing an increased number of accidents,” Windemuth said.

In fact so far this year, 13 people have already died in boating accidents alone.  That’s higher than most previous years and DNR police point out we’re only halfway through the summer.

Police say boaters of any age should remember to wear life jackets and keep radio or cell phone communications on them at all time.  Swimmers should stay near lifeguards and never stray far from their group.

DNR Police say they will continue to search the Magothy River for the missing boater until dark Tuesday and then resume their search Wednesday morning.

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