Man killed when watercraft strikes bridge abutment


A Baltimore County man was killed when his personal watercraft crashed into a concrete railroad bridge abutment in the Gunpowder River yesterday afternoon.

It was the second time in less than a week that a personal watercraft accident has claimed the life of its operator and the second such accident in the state.

Joshua H. Saylor, 20, of the 900 block of Rosedale Ave. in Rosedale was riding his craft on the Gunpowder after 4 p.m. yesterday when he slammed into the concrete abutment, said Bob Graham, a spokesman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police. The accident occurred near Oliver Beach, on the Baltimore County-Harford County border.

When the watercraft hit the abutment, the impact drove Mr. Saylor head over heels into the water.

He was face down in the river for five to 10 minutes, Mr. Graham said.

Residents of the community heard a thud and spotted the victim when they saw his brightly colored life jacket. They pulled him out of the water and called 911. A Maryland State Police helicopter flew Mr. Saylor to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be conducted, said Mr. Graham, adding that an investigation is continuing.

Mr. Graham said Mr. Saylor appeared to have been alone. He said investigators have not yet determined why he was unable to avoid the abutment to the Amtrak railroad bridge. He said the concrete abutments are 16 feet apart.

On Saturday, Janet Lynn Ewing, 35, of Cecil County died when her craft collided with her husband's on the Susquehanna River, becoming the first person killed on personal watercraft in Maryland. Mrs. Ewing was riding crafts with her husband, Richard Ewing, their 12-year-old son and a family friend near Logans Wharf when the accident occurred in the early evening.

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