Teen rescued after crashing Sea-Doo watercraft near Shenandoah River dam


HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — A teenage boy who wrecked a Sea-Doo watercraft Saturday night in the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County was about 50 yards from being washed over Millville Dam when he was pulled to safety, Independent Fire Co. Chief Ed Smith said.
Found clinging to a warning buoy for the dam and the watercraft, the boy was spotted in the river shortly before emergency officials were alerted at 7:23 p.m., Smith said.

The boy was taken ashore by members of the department’s Swift Water Rescue Team and taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., to be examined for exposure.
Smith said the teen, who was not identified, apparently was in the water for an extended amount of time, but was alert and conscious when rescued.

“Fortunately, somebody down at the dam spotted him,” Smith said.
The boy was with his grandfather, who apparently was unaware that the teen had wrecked the watercraft and couldn’t restart it, Smith said.
The boy told emergency officials he wrecked after he made a sharp turn, Smith said. He drifted downstream, holding onto the watercraft and then the buoy, too, Smith said. The buoys are attached to a cable in the river, he said.

After getting the boy into the boat, Smith said the response team tied the watercraft to the rescue boat and went to shore.
Smith said the river rescue happened less than a mile downstream from the crash site of a motorcycle and a vehicle Saturday about 2 p.m. on Bloomery Road, which travels along the river.
A man in his early 40s was flown to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center for injuries that Smith said were not believed to be life-threatening.
West Virginia State Police were investigating the vehicle collision.

Assisting in the river rescue were firefighters from Citizens Fire Co., Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and Friendship Fire Co., Smith said. Friendship also was involved with the vehicle accident.
— By Matthew Umstead