Potomac River drownings: Swimming can be deadly, crews warn

Though the Potomac looks calm, crews warn of deadly currents below the surface.

The body of a 21-year-old who went missing while swimming in the Potomac River near Mather Gorge on Saturday has been recovered.

Police have identified the man as Vincent Crapps of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as The Old Guard. He was stationed in Fort Myer, Va.

Crapps' body was recovered around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Police say Crapps was diving off on the Virginia side of the river when his friends noticed him go under the water and not surface.

Now police are warning swimmers of the Potomac's dangers.

“This latest incident, the people were from out of town, not familiar with the Potomac and its dangers. They probably walked right past the signs,” says Donnie Simmons of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Several signs posted in English, Spanish and Vietnamese warn of the river’s dangers, but even people who live in the area often ignore the warnings.

Just one week ago, 19-year-old Ngo Tekwe Forchick of Takoma Park drowned while swimming with friends.

“It can be flat and still on top, but there’s a raging current underneath,” says Simmons.

Even experienced kayakers often wear life vests and helmets, and when they see swimmers they try to warn them.

“As someone who has been on the river for 15 years I feel an obligation to warn people of the dangers, but you can only do so much,” says Paul Golob, a kayaker.

It is all very frustrating for the Fire and Rescue teams, and now with the Fourth of July holiday approaching, they are trying to get the safety message out yet again.

“You see a wet rock, stay away from it. You’re going to all in,” Simmons says.

They also warn swimming can be deadly.