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Police identify man swept away by swift water Friday in Harford, search for one more continues

A temporary fix at the bridge on Route 136 where people were swept away by flood waters on Aug. 31, 2018.

The body of one of the people police believe were swept away by raging flood waters Friday evening on Route 136 near James Run in Churchville has been recovered and identified, Maryland State Police said.

Police and rescue teams resumed their search at 7 a.m. Saturday after suspending their operations around 11 p.m. Friday, according to a news release from Maryland State Police.

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The body of a man was found in a sedan at about 8:30 a.m., State Police said. He was identified Daniel Samis, 67, of Abingdon.

More than two dozen swiftwater rescues were reported Friday evening in Harford County, Rich Gardiner, a spokesman for the Harford County Fire and EMS Association, said.

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At about 6 p.m. Friday in the area of Route 136 and James Run, a vehicle with up to two occupants became disabled on the Broad Run bridge due to high water, according to a news release from State Police. Police said Saturday afternoon that further investigation indicates the man was alone in the sedan.

A truck with a man and woman inside pulled up to the scene to assist the driver of the sedan that was submerged up to its roof. Police have determined that the man and woman got a rope and tried to help the driver in the vehicle that was stuck.

At some point, the woman trying to rescue the driver fell and the man with her helped her up, only for her to fall again before being swept over the bridge and into the rushing water of Broad Run, State Police said in the release.

Video from Harford County government spokesperson Cindy Mumby from Glen Cove Marina in Darlington after a storm Aug. 31, 2018, damaged the area.

The driver of the truck drove to an adjacent quarry in search of the woman and then sought assistance from those in the area, who called 911.

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As a witness was on the phone with the 911 operator, he saw the disabled vehicle go over the side of the bridge and get swept down the body of Broad Run, State Police said.

A vehicle was found later in the evening about a quarter of a mile from the scene, but high water conditions made it too difficult to confirm whether it was the vehicle from the bridge and if any of the potential victims were inside it, State Police said.

At about 8:30 a.m., with the assistance of the Harford County Technical Rescue Team, investigators recovered the body of a man from the sedan, State Police said.

It was initially believed two people were in the car, however further interviews with witnesses and Samis' family regarding his movements Friday evening leads investigators to believe that he was in the vehicle alone at the time the vehicle was swept away, Maryland State Police said.

The female Good Samaritan has yet to be found and search efforts for her continue, State Police said.

Other rescues

Harford County fire officials reported "significant" damage across the county after rains pounded the area Friday evening.

Gardiner said crews had responded to at least 25 reports for swiftwater rescues and were making their way to others. Multiple bridges were swept away, and Gardiner said the Glen Cove Marina in Darlington was "a mess," with boats lifting away with the rising waters.

"Apparently there were overdue vessels coming in the area that have not returned yet," he said.

Gardiner said the damage would impact travel in the county, and that more is expected to be found.

"That's just the responders' visualization in the dark when they're out on these calls," he said.

Swiftwater rescue teams from Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard counties, as well as Baltimore City and Chester County, Pa., were requested to assist.

As of Saturday morning, portions of several major roads were fully or partially closed due to flood damage, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation. U.S. Route 1 was closed in both directions at Maryland Route 440, and the northbound side of Route 1 was closed at Hughes Road. Maryland Route 136 was also closed in both directions between Maryland Route 22 and Maryland Route 543, the state's Coordinated Highways Action Response Team reported.

Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Meehan contributed to this story.

The road underneath Route 136 in Churchville was washed away from raging waters from Friday night's storm. A crew was attempting to stabilize the road throughout the day Saturday in hopes of having it re-opened by Saturday evening.
The road underneath Route 136 in Churchville was washed away from raging waters from Friday night's storm. A crew was attempting to stabilize the road throughout the day Saturday in hopes of having it re-opened by Saturday evening. (Courtesy Justin Anderson / Baltimore Sun)

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