Ambulance lights

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is praising the work of several good Samaritans who rescued a drowning man from the Rappahannock River in Falmouth this week.

According to a Sheriff’s Office news release, emergency responders received a call about 5:40 p.m. Tuesday about a possible drowning near the near the Historic Port of Falmouth. After arriving on the scene, rescue personnel found a 21-year-old man who had already been revived.

A deputy later determined several people at the beachfront area had attempted to rescue the man from the water. The release credited Darius Burr, an off-duty U.S. Secret Service officer, with helping bring the unresponsive man to shore and then working with another beach-goer to resuscitate the victim.

After several chest compressions, the rescued swimmer was able to breath on his own, the release said. Stafford Sheriff’s Maj. Shawn Kimmitz said the victim was transported to a regional hospital to be checked as a precaution.

“The Stafford Sheriff’s Office would like to commend Mr. Burr and the other good Samaritans for their actions in preventing a tragedy,” the release said.

The incident was a reminder of the danger of swimming in the Rappahannock, which has holes, rocks and snags in its river bed that pose unseen threats. Swimmers are encouraged to wear life jackets.

In February, Stafford County Fire and Rescue said it had responded to a total of 42 calls for service or assistance at the Falmouth beach park over the past five years.

“It’s a spot where the water looks calm on the surface, but has a tendency to develop undertows,” Adam Lynch, a river steward with Friends of the Rappahannock, said at the time. “It goes from shallow and calm to deep and fast in just a couple of steps.”

James Scott Baron: 540-374-5438

jbaron@freelancestar.com

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