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Man believed dead in boating accident

Rescue crews have turned their attention to recovery after a man went missing in Conewago Creek in Pennsylvania. According to reports, the 41-year-old had been missing since June 26 after a boating accident, in which a johnboat went over a low-head dam. The man's friend who had been with him in the boat survived. The two had apparently decided to go fishing in the creek, but shortly after entering the water, the johnboat went over the dam, located a short distance downstream from the Davidsburg Road bridge in Dover Township.

According to the deputy fire chief, there are two warning signs posted to let boaters know of the dangers of the dam, but the men entered the creek at a spot that was between the two signs. The deputy fire chief told reporters that when the two men would have seen the sign that was 50 feet before the dam, they wouldn't have had time to turn around before going over.

The search had to be called off on the night of June 26 when storms hit the area, but searchers returned early the next morning. The search efforts involved a police helicopter, ground searches of the creek banks and sonar equipment brought in from out of state. As of 9:30 p.m. on June 27, continued search efforts were not planned.

These types of boating accidents are tragic for all involved. Low-head dams are well known for being hazards to boaters and other watercraft. In some situations, it may be possible for surviving family members to file a civil suit against any party found negligent. In cases where a boating accident victim survives, any compensation awarded by the courts may be used to pay for continuing medical treatments and specialized equipment or as reimbursement for lost income.

Source: The York Daily Record, "Conewago Creek search for missing boater changes from rescue to recovery mission; search will not continue Saturday," June 27, 2014.

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