Searchers Comb River for Missing Coach
The legislation was introduced after a 12-year-old German exchange student drowned last year in the Potomac.
"If the victim had been wearing [a life vest], we wouldn't be standing here now," said Durham, who spoke to reporters from a vantage point near the accident scene.
Officials said the current was strong when the rowers began their morning practice, though the waters appeared calmer several hours later. But Durham said boaters "shouldn't underestimate what water can do. . . . It's nothing to toy with."
Catilo's family and friends spent the day at the marina keeping a vigil for the lost rower.
"It's the worst thing a parent or anyone involved in the program could imagine," said Debbie Wells, president of the Alexandria Crew Boosters. Wells got word of the accident shortly after 9 a.m. and raced to the Alexandria schools' boathouse on Madison Street, where the young rowers had access to counseling.
Wells described Catilo as a "very giving person" who loved teaching children to row and could always be relied on to help the program.
Catilo graduated from T.C. Williams in 2001 and had eight years of experience as a rower. He had spent the past four summers coaching in the summer boosters program, which includes T.C. Williams students as well as students from across the area.
"It's a program to teach students how to row," said Barbara Hunter, an Alexandria schools spokeswoman. "They can be novices, they can be at a higher level -- depending on where they are."
At the University of Virginia, Catilo served last year as treasurer of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans, school officials said. This fall, he was to serve as president of the university's Myo Sim Karate and Self-Defense Club. He held a green belt in the martial art.
Staff writers Karin Brulliard and Alice Reid and researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
A D.C. fire and rescue boat nears the dock at Daingerfield Island during the search for Catilo, who was coaching novice rowers when he fell into the river. Divers, who called off their search because of an approaching storm, will resume it this morning.
(Bt Jonathan Ernst For The Washington Post)
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