On Sunday April 26, 2009 at 7:40 pm, Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Fire and Rescue Services was dispatched to the Potomac River at Pennyfield Lock for reports of a person in the Potomac River and in distress.
The standard protocol for this type of rescue also sends the United States Park Police Aviation Section.
Montgomery County Fire Strike Teams 710 and 730 along with Company 731 dispatched rescue boats, EMS units, engine companies and truck companies.
United States Park Police Aviation Helicopter Eagle 1 manned by Pilot Sgt. Kevin Chittick and Rescue Technician/Paramedic Sgt. Chris Perkins responded. When Eagle 1 arrived, the flight crew observed a subject who had apparently been swept about one quarter of a mile down river by a swift current. He had managed to swim to an island.
As there was no access from shore, Sgt. Perkins jumped about five feet from the helicopter as Sgt. Chittick maintained a hover. Sgt. Perkins evaluated the medical condition of the patient. The patient was not seriously injured, however, the only way to remove him from the island was by Montgomery County Fire Department boat.
The boat crew removed the patient to Pennyfield Lock where the patient ultimately refused further treatment and transport to hospital for a leg injury.
The United States Park Police reminds visitors to the Potomac River to exercise extreme caution near the water as the seemingly calm surface hides a very swift and treacherous current below.