Man suspected dead after trying to swim across Potomac River

A man who tried to swim across the Potomac River near Fletcher’s Cove is suspected to be dead, according to D.C. Fire and EMS.

Fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said multiple witnesses saw someone trying to swim across the river from the Virginia side Sunday afternoon. They saw the swimmer go under the water without resurfacing.

A Maryland State Police helicopter, along with D.C. police harbor units, Arlington fireboats and the U.S. Coast Guard, assisted in the search. Authorities will continue the effort to recover the man’s body this week.

Fire officials took the opportunity to remind would-be swimmers of the Potomac River’s hidden hazards, especially north of the Key Bridge into the Fletcher’s Cove area.

“The Potomac is a beautiful and scenic river, but while it appears placid on the surface, underneath, there are very strong currents (and) hidden rocks,” Maggiolo told WTOP.

“If you fall into the Potomac or try to swim it, you’re very likely to get pulled under; sometimes, you’ll be in a vortex where it’s almost like a washing machine.”

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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