The Maryland Natural Resources police and Howard County Fire and Rescue divers June 8 recovered the body of a 22-year-old Landover man from the Patapsco River who was swimming in a prohibited area and disappeared shortly after 6 p.m. on June 7.
According to DNR police, Bryan Estuardo Diaz was found in 4- to 5-feet of water below Bloede Dam in Patapsco Valley State Park on the Howard County and Baltimore County line. Divers attempted to recover his body before nightfall but were unsuccessful.
Natural Resource police spokeswoman Candy Thomson said signs are posted in English and Spanish at all of the dam's access points, warning visitors of its dangers.
"We have routine patrols as well," Thomson said. "As a matter of fact, it was on one of our regular patrols Sunday evening when we saw a gentleman on the dam. We yelled for him to get off the dam and he said, 'I'm looking for a friend.'"
Thomson said the rescue quickly turned into a recovery mission as more than two dozen divers and support crew fought the high water and powerful hydraulic currents generated by the dam beneath the 30-foot-high concrete structure shortly after sunrise on Monday.
"We had divers protecting divers while they looked," Thomson said. "That was just a treacherous spot. If you get pulled into that, you're not coming out."
Witnesses told police Diaz was swimming near a large rock outcropping in the middle of the river when he disappeared. Diaz is the sixth person to drown near Bloede Dam in the last 10 years and the second swimming fatality this season.
Although well aware of the area's attraction, Thomson said people need to take more caution.
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"It doesn't take much to find yourself in some serious trouble," she said. "The dam is going to come out next year, but until then, people just have to be aware and respect the power of that water because it's truly amazing."