Man, firefighter drown at Wicomico Shores pier in Mechanicsville
Family and friends will bid farewell to a volunteer firefighter who drowned while trying to rescue another man at the Wicomico Shores pier in Mechanicsville Saturday.
Funeral services for 22-year-old Christopher Staley will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Christ Episcopal Church, located at 13050 Rock Point Road in Wayside, Md.
Authorities say Staley and a group of friends were gathered at the Wicomico Shores pier Saturday evening. His friend, 24-year-old Christopher "CJ" Kelly dove into the water and began struggling to swim back..
Several people, including Staley, jumped in to rescue him. Staley managed to reach his friend, but the rough water kept sweeping them under.
“He had his hands on CJ trying to pull him back, but the current, they went under and popped back up,” says a friend.
Both Staley and Kelly drowned.
Both men were recovered later that night near the pier. Their bodies have been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an examination.
- Chris Staley, of Newburg, a firefighter with the
Cobb Island Volunteer Fire Dept.
Staley, of Newburg, had been a member of the Cobb Island Fire Department for six years, following in his father's footsteps.
“He basically lived and breathed the fire department he would do anything, he had a heart of gold,” said Jimmy Jackson.
Authorities say rough water from the storms may have been a factor.
Family and friends will be holding a candlelight vigil at the pier Thursday at 9 p.m.
The Charles County Dive Team, Cobb Island Volunteer Fire Department, Seventh District Volunteer Fire Department, Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department, Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad, and the Newburg Volunteer Rescue Squad assisted with the recovery efforts.
Two others drowned in Maryland over the weekend as well.
On Saturday, an unidentified person fell off a pontoon boat and drowned in Assawoman Bay near Ocean City.
Sunday afternoon, Anne Arundel County police say a 57-year-old man drowned in Edgewater. Police say Judson Bell swam into Whitemarsh Creek to retrieve a piece of trash and disappeared under water. Witnesses brought Bell to shore, but he died at a hospital.
Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.