Authorities locate drowning victim in Potomac River
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.