A 13-year-old boy on an outing with a Silver Spring camping group drowned this afternoon in the lake at Oregon Ridge.
Baltimore County Fire personnel were called to the county-owned and operated Oregon Ridge beach at 12:26 p.m. for a possible drowning. Witnesses said they saw the boy in distress and watched him go under the water in a roped area where swimming is permitted. Swimmers must pass a swim test in order to recreate in this deeper section of the lake. The victim, as well as the rest of the swimmers in the group from the Silver Spring-based Camp Sonshine, had passed the test.
Several Oregon Ridge lifeguards were in the water searching for the boy when BCoFD rescue crews arrived. Three lifeguards had been stationed in their lifeguard chairs when the boy went under water and almost immediately were joined by other lifeguards working at the park. They were not able to find the victim, and BCoFD water rescue experts took over the search.
The boy was recovered at 3:08 p.m. in about 45 feet of water.
Members of Camp Sonshine told responders that today was the boy's 13th birthday. Police have not yet released his identity.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz visited the park after the incident to speak with the victim's parents and the Oregon Park staff. "This is a terrible tragedy, and on behalf of the citizens of Baltimore County I offer deepest sympathy to the victim's family and friends."
Responding units included tactical rescuers from Texas Station #17, Kingsville VFC's water rescue unit, the Middle River Volunteer Ambulance Rescue Co.'s Dive Unit, Carroll County's Dive Unit and other local companies. Baltimore City responded with its sonar unit, but the victim was recovered before the sonar unit arrived.
Oregon Ridge Beach Closed
Immediately after the drowning, county officials announced that the Oregon Ridge beach and the pavilion on the beach will be closed until further notice. People who have rented pavilions on the beach will be notified individually.
The Oregon Ridge Nature Center will be closed for the weekend.
Call 410-887-1819 with questions.