The Susquehanna Hose Company of Havre de Grace responded to a water rescue Saturday in which a Delaware man drowned after jumping from a cliff on the Susquehanna River north of Conowingo Dam.
Zachary James, 25, of Wyoming, Del., was found dead after he jumped from a 65-foot cliff at Wildcat Point, Maryland Natural Resources Police spokesman Sgt. Brian Albert said Wednesday.
The cliff is about four miles north of Conowingo Dam on the Cecil County shore of the river and "is a very popular place that attracts a lot of people on hot days," Albert said.
James was swimming with friends at about 2 p.m. Saturday when he decided to jump from the cliff. Witnesses said when he jumped, "he slipped and hit the water awkwardly," Albert said.
He resurfaced and then went under the water, Albert said. His friends were unsuccessful in trying to find him. Rescue teams recovered the body at 4 p.m.
An autopsy is still being done to determine how James died. Albert said he believes he "had been drinking a little," but the toxicology report had not come back as of Wednesday afternoon.
Susquehanna Hose Chief Scott Hurst said the company assisted Water Witch fire company in Port Deposit because the Havre de Grace fire company is one of the few along the lower section of the river with a dive team.
Hurst said James' body was found in the same area where he jumped and was not transported to a hospital because James was declared dead at the scene.
The drowning was the sixth such death in Maryland in a month, prompting Gov. Martin O'Malley to urge people to be more careful in the water.
The state has seen 12 water-related casualties so far, double that of this time in 2012, according to the Maryland Natural Resources Police.
"One day on the water, one minor misstep, one moment or lapse in judgment can lead to loss of life," O'Malley said in a news release following the Albert drowning. "Some of these victims were avid swimmers and athletes, clearly demonstrating that no one is immune to a swift current, large wave or unexpected mishap. We urge you to guard your life, and guard the lives of your loved ones by being smart and safe on the water."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun