Cumberland Times-News

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June 25, 2013

Man fled boat by smashing window

DEEP CREEK LAKE — A Maryland Department of Natural Resources boat operator had to knock out a window to escape from the 23-foot work vessel that capsized and went to the bottom of Deep Creek Lake on the afternoon of May 15, according to a Watercraft Accident Report filed by Natural Resources Police Cpl. Robert Mayles.

The docked vessel began taking on water through an open dive door and then capsized when the operator, accompanied by an attendant, attempted to quickly drive it to a shallow area.

Both men swam to safety and neither was injured.

In his report, Mayles said that Lake Management employees Maxwell N. Anthony, the operator, and Seth M. Metheny were docked at the Discovery Center for about 20 minutes at about 4 p.m. as they were updating their iPads via the center’s WiFi service.

“... During that time the strong winds were causing the waves to break over the side of the boat where the removable dive door is located,” Mayles wrote, describing the waves as being as high as 2 feet.

“After noticing the water filling the bilge, the bilge pump was activated but was unable to keep up with the amount of water coming through the dive door.”

Anthony told Mayles the decision was made to back away from the dock and try to get the boat on plane to allow the water to drain off.

“Noticing the boat listing to the port side and the engine sitting very low in the water, they decided to try and get as close to shore as possible,” Mayles wrote. “Mr. Metheny was attempting to replace the dive door when the vessel capsized.”

Mayles said that Metheny immediately swam free of the boat. That’s when Anthony knocked out a cabin window to escape. Anthony and Metheny were wearing personal flotation devices, according to the report.

The boat went down in Meadow Mountain Cove in about 12 feet of water. The following day, NRP divers and Lake Management personnel used air bags to float the boat and it was pulled to shore. Mayles’ report indicates the aluminum vessel sustained $2,000 in damage.

Besides the cabin window that Anthony dislodged, an engine cowling was broken and radio and other electronic equipment was damaged. The vessel, which is insured, was considered to be disabled, according to Mayles’ report. The report lists Anthony as a boat operator with more than 500 hours’ experience, though it cites inattention and inexperience of the operator as factors that contributed to the accident. No charges were filed.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

 

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