PORT TOBACCO, Md. (June 25, 2008)—Stephen Raymond Barnes, Sr., age 37, of Bryans Road, drowned in the Port Tobacco River near Chapel Point State Park on Tuesday evening after falling from a borrowed jet ski. Police say Barnes was not wearing a life vest.
Police and rescue crews responded to Chapel Point State Park in Port Tobacco around 6:30 p.m. after receiving a call that a man had fallen from a jet ski in the Port Tobacco River and failed to resurface. The Charles County Dive and Rescue Team along with members of the Nanjemoy and Potomac Heights volunteer fire departments and the Department of Natural Resources (NRP) initiated a search for Barnes.
Barnes body was recovered by emergency personnel at 8:45 p.m. between 60 and 100 yards from shore. Barnes was pronounced dead and transported the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.
Police determined through their investigation that Barnes was at the park with his children, who range between the ages of 3 and 12-years-old, and a 20-year-old acquaintance, when he saw a group of people taking turns riding a jet ski. Barnes asked to ride the jet ski and was given permission.
Witnesses said Barnes made a sharp turn and fell off the jet ski. The NRP reported that Barnes was last seen swimming towards the jet ski before disappearing beneath the waters surface. The Sheriff's Office indicated that Barnes did not resurface after initially falling from the jet ski. All reports indicate that Barnes was not wearing a life jacket.
The Md. Natural Resources Police, Charles County Sheriffs Office, Charles County Rescue Squad, Charles County Dive Team, U.S. Coast Guard, Bel Alton, Cobb Island, Marbury, Nanjemoy, Newburg, Potomac Heights volunteer fire departments and King George Fire Department assisted with the incident.