Man drowns while swimming in Loch Raven Reservoir

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Photo by Larissa Smith, via Flickr

Baltimore County rescuers are searching for a man who they say went missing late this morning while swimming in Loch Raven Reservoir.

Fire department officials said water rescue units were out searching for him after he disappeared around 11:20 a.m. About an hour and a half later, they shared that the rescue effort had been reclassified as a “recovery.”

Carroll County’s Gamber and Community Fire Company, located in Finksburg, sent divers to help search for him. Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said around 3 p.m. that “Baltimore City Police Marine personnel are taking over the operation at this time.” The recovery was still ongoing, she said.

Loch Raven Reservoir sits just east of Cockeysville and north of Towson. Fed by the Big Gunpowder Falls River, it supplies drinking water for Baltimore City—also the owner of the property—and parts of the County. It doubles as a recreational man-made lake, with amenities like hiking trails, picnic areas and its own fishing center with boats available for rent.

Swimming remains banned there, however. On a county website, officials warn, “Reservoirs were never designed for swimming and are unsafe. They are full of hidden rocks, fallen trees and unstable ledges. The depths fluctuate suddenly. Water visibility is poor. Underwater currents can be treacherous.”

The county says most of its five to 10 drownings and near-drownings each year happen in areas where swimming is banned, including reservoirs. One man nearly drowned but was saved by friends in 2013, and another from Havre de Grace died in 2010 while trying to swim across the reservoir.

The county houses two other city-owned reservoirs, Prettyboy, in a remote area of northern Baltimore County, and Liberty ,on the Baltimore County-Carroll County border.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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