June 4, 2010

Second Body Found in Potomac River Search

GLEN ECHO, Md. - A family's hope for a miracle apparently ended Thursday with the discovery of a second body in the Potomac River. The mother and daughter were swept away on Monday. A search helicopter discovered the first body Wednesday. Those involved in the rescue efforts gave a stern warning to anyone who dares go into the river. The timing of the body's discovery seemed eerie, coming minutes after the park service, fire and police ended a press conference reminding people the river is deadly. Boats began the search around 10:00 a.m. for a fourth straight day. What had been a search and rescue mission was now a recovery operation. About 30 minutes into the search, rescuers spotted a body near Perry Island, about two miles from where the mother and daughter disappeared.

"Four days ago, the river reminded us that this is an unforgiving river and can kill," said Kevin Brandt, Superintendent for the C&O Canal National Historic Park.

The family had waited by the river for days but the discovery of the first body, about six miles away near Little Falls Wednesday, seemed to confirm the inevitable. The bodies are presumed to be 35-year old Olga Gaspar and her 13-year old daughter Emily, although the medical examiner must still determine a positive identification. The two disappeared during a family outing near Great Falls on Memorial Day. Relatives say they had been standing in water only ankle or knee deep.

"Even in shallow water, [that] can be deadlier than ocean riptides and can take you down in seconds," said Chief Richard Bowers of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Hidden beneath the surface are rocks and debris that can pin you under. Swift water rescue teams were on the water within 11 minutes of the 911 call with the odds already against them. SOURCE: FOX DC

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