WASHINGTON - Rescue crews have rescued two people from the water beneath the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge in D.C. and searched for a third person after a work boat overturned Monday morning.
The incident was reported around 11 a.m., officials said. The two victims who were pulled out of the water were uninjured and did not need to be hospitalized.
Multiple agencies with fire boats, rescue squad inflatables and a helicopter searched for the third worker for several hours.
"It's very swift-moving current,” said D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson Vito Maggiolo. “The water is extremely high. There is a tremendous amount of debris. Tremendous amounts of rain fell not only in the District, but north of us and all that water has got to come down river and that is what is happening now and will probably happen for the next day or so."
However, authorities believe the third victim did not survive.
"The amount of time that the gentleman has been missing, the fact that we have conducted an extensive search with no sign of him, leads us to believe that this is going to become a recovery operation," said Maggiolo.
Update Potomac River water incident: This has transitioned from a rescue to a recovery operation. We are releasing most assets. Thanks to @PGFDNews and @AlexandriaVAFD for assistance from their fireboats, as well as our partners at @DCPoliceDept Harbor Div. pic.twitter.com/oazXOj27Xp— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) June 4, 2018
The focus now is finding the missing worker's body and securing a barge that got loose when the boat went under by using a tree to hold it in place.
"Our biggest concern now is the barge that is along the shoreline here by the Watergate," Maggiolo said. "Making sure it is secure so it doesn't break loose and continue down the river where it would obviously pose a significant hazard."
#DCsBravest have secured a barge involved in this incident to the shoreline opposite the Watergate complex. The PIO remains on the scene at that location for any media needs. Also thanks to @uscoastguard and @usparkpolicepio eagle helicopter for their assistance. pic.twitter.com/gqTKDhwB4s— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) June 4, 2018
It is unknown what may have caused this boat to capsize. The investigation is ongoing.
The barge was leased from a Maryland company called Smith Brothers. The contractor heading up that construction project is with a company called Techno Pref. FOX 5 has reached out to the company, but they have declined to comment.