Drama at the C&O Canal

A Georgetown dispatch from colleague Ned Martel follows:

The crowd on the Wisconsin Avenue bridge materialized in minutes, out of nowhere, said police Lt. J.M. Hedgecock.

The British tourists and neighborhood residents with dogs on leashes were peering over the bridge railing, all eyes on a maroon mass of some kind, on the bed of the C&O Canal.

The silhouette looked curious, Hedgecock said. Was it a body lying on its side, wrapped in something like a blanket? The crowd stared as firefighters edged toward the bank of the canal. They prepared prods, tree cutters and ladders as they thought through the options.

“On the top, it looks like human hair,” Hedgecock said. There were seven emergency vehicles with lights blaring, blocking all traffic. Young British boys, high school age, were excitedly hypothesizing that the mass could be a bomb.

Finally, a lone firefighter descended to the canal bed. He lifted up the wet blanket and revealed what was underneath: a large orange safety cone.

It was as if a wet blanket fell upon the crowd. A New Zealand TV news crew decamped. The Brits broke into two camps in search of coffee and a warm, dry place. The passerby who alerted police and stood vigil on the bridge expressed relief. “All that ruckus for nothing,” said Ranit Mishori, who tugged on the leash of her dog, Pyke, and headed back home.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

local

mike-debonis

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local

local

mike-debonis

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Next Story
Mike DeBonis · October 30, 2012

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.