Au­thor­i­ties lo­cate drown­ing vic­tim in Po­tomac River

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

Mary­land Na­tional Re­sources Po­lice an­nounced Tues­day morn­ing that they re­cov­ered the body of the man who drowned in the Po­tomac River late Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Bni­amin Adel Rastkheez, 31, of Falls Church, Va., who was last seen strug­gling to stay afloat be­fore he dis­ap­peared un­der the wa­ter Sun­day, was re­cov­ered around 10:15 a.m. on Tues­day near the mouth of the Pis­cat­away Creek, a NRP spokesper­son said. Eye­wit­nesses told NRP of­fi­cers he had jumped into the wa­ter in an at­tempt to re­trieve a fish­ing rod that had fallen over­board.

On Sun­day af­ter­noon,

Rastkheez and two oth­ers, a male and a fe­male, launched their 16-foot mo­tor­boat from a dock near Rea­gan Na­tional Air­port in Vir­ginia and trav­eled south, pass­ing un­der the Woodrow Wil­son Me­mo­rial Bridge and con­tin­u­ing down the river near Ac­co­keek.

Around 4:55 p.m., one of the boaters called 911 after Rastkheez strug­gled to stay afloat and dis­ap­peared un­der the wa­ter near Mount Ver­non. They had tried to throw him a life­jacket and a line to grab onto, but he had drifted too far from the boat and was un­able to reach safety, au­thor­i­ties said.

Mem­bers of Mary­land Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice, Prince Ge­orge’s County first re­spon­ders, Charles County Dive Res­cue Com­pany 13, Vir­ginia Marine Po­lice and the Coast Guard joined the search with a to­tal of seven boats and a he­li­copter, but the man re­mained miss­ing.

After hours of search­ing, the res­cue op­er­a­tion shifted into a re­cov­ery ef­fort. Boats at­tempted to search for the body un­der­wa­ter us­ing sides­can SONAR un­til the op­er­a­tion was sus­pended at dark.

Re­cov­ery ef­forts were re­sumed Mon­day morn­ing, and on Tues­day morn­ing, a NRP of­fi­cer dis­cov­ered the body float­ing near the mouth of Pis­cat­away Creek.

An autopsy will be per­formed by the Of­fice of the Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner in Bal­ti­more.

Rastkheez’s death marks the sixth boat­ing fa­tal­ity of the year in Mary­land.

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