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DC Fire: 17-year-old dead in Potomac River after drowning

Witnesses said they heard splashing and calls for help, and one person reported seeing someone trying to swim to a loose skiff who was not seen again.

WASHINGTON — A 17-year-old was found dead in the Potomac River early Friday morning, according to rescue officials. 

Around 5:15 a.m. Friday morning, DC Fire & EMS received a report of a boat in distress, near the Thompson Boat Center on Virginia Avenue Northwest, in Georgetown. Rescue boats were sent to the scene. Witnesses said they heard splashing and calls for help, and one person reported seeing someone trying to swim to a loose skiff who was not seen again. 

"We upgraded the call to a full water rescue assignment, which includes land base units and additional maritime assets," Vito Maggiolo, the DC Fire & EMS spokesperson, said.

RELATED: Boy saved after nearly drowning during hike by Northwest Branch Stream

A search was conducted along the shoreline and in the river using two DC fireboats, and several rescue squads were sent out in inflatables, while the DC Police Harbor Division conducted dive operations. Arlington County first responders and the Coast Guard were also assisting. Maggiolo said the crews were also searching near Rock Creek, which empties out directly adjacent to Thompson's.

While Maggiolo said rescue crews can sometimes pinpoint exactly where the person went in, and then focus the search, he called this incident "much broader." 

"We always ask if people see somebody in distress in the water to stay on the scene and to point us towards where they last saw the victim," Maggiolo said. "That makes a big, big difference." 

RELATED: Bodies of missing father and son recovered from Potomac River

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