Officials: Potomac River Can be Deadly

By David Culver and Mila Mimica
|  Wednesday, May 22, 2013  |  Updated 9:23 PM EDT
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Rescue teams in our area want you to know that the Potomac River is not the place to take a dip on a hot summer day. Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver tells us why.

David Culver

Rescue teams in our area want you to know that the Potomac River is not the place to take a dip on a hot summer day. Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver tells us why.

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Officials took to Great Falls Wednesday to remind residents of the potentially deadly dangers of jumping into the Potomac River.

Three Sterling, Va. residents who jumped into the Potomac and had to be rescued were at the news conference at the Falls as well.

"I've been scared many times in my life, but not like this," Devon Cox told News4.

Cox and his friends jumped into a seemingly calm part of the river.

"The current caught up to us anyway. It was not calm," Cox recalled. " We are working hard right now to move on, but we won't forget about it."

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue officials just happened to be practicing water training near the scene when they saw Cox struggling in the rapids.

"The whole time it looked like he was trying to grab a ladder," Tom Barnes with Fairfax Fire and Rescue said. "We just snatched his hand and threw him right in the boat. It was divine intervention, I guess you could say."

But not everyone is as lucky as Cox and his friends. More than half of the injuries from the Potomac are deadly.

"I was an elite swimmer growing up and there would be no way I could swim across this," Potomac Paddlers Volunteer Corps member Chuck Thornton said.

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