Cumberland Times-News

Local News

May 16, 2013

Unmanned DNR boat sinks on Deep Creek

SWANTON — A large Maryland Department of Natural Resources boat used on Deep Creek Lake sunk Wednesday afternoon but was floated to the surface with air bags Thursday and brought to shore, according to Eric Null, Deep Creek Lake State Park spokesman.

“There appears to be no major structural damage,” Null said.

Null said the 24-foot Ottercraft is a metal work boat with heavy lifting being one of its capacities.

He said two staff members were in a boating accident, but refused to supply other information until an official report is filed. There were no injuries, Null said.

“Our officers were returning from the firing range on Town Hill Wednesday when they got a call that a boat had capsized,” said Sgt. Brian Albert of the Natural Resources Police. “They were responding on heightened alert. A floating life jacket caused concern until it became clear that it hadn’t come off of a person, but had floated out of the boat.”

Albert said a passerby had noticed the moored boat sinking and went to the park office with the news.

“Someone from the office ran down, started it up and tried to get it up running on plane toward a shallow area, but it rolled,” Albert said.

Albert was uncertain why the boat initially took on water and Null would not discuss that matter.

“It’s a low-based boat so that buoys can be reached from it,” Albert said. “It has a dive door, so if that would have been left open, water would enter that way.”

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

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