Winchester man drowns in Shenandoah

BRYAN CLARK Spirit Staff

HARPERS FERRY – The body of a 30-year-old Winchester, Va., man who fell into the Shenandoah River during a holiday gathering Thursday was recovered by rescuers today, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty.

The man’s name has not yet been released by officials.

Dougherty said the man fell into the water at the Shannondale Springs boat launch and was unable to return to shore on his own.

“The gentleman either could not swim or could not swim very well,” Dougherty said. “Apparently he was walking backwards while talking to somebody who was on shore. He must have gone off and gotten into a deep pool.”

Dougherty said the man likely drowned before anyone had a chance to assist him.

“The best we can figure at this point is that he swallowed water when he first went in,” Dougherty said. “He popped up to the surface once and then was not seen again.”

Emergency searchers pulled the man from the river at about 3:15 p.m. today following two days of searching.

“It started out as a rescue last night and turned into a recovery,” said Dougherty, who indicated that rescuers from four states had worked to find the man. “We had people from as far as Carlisle, Pa. assisting with the search.”

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