Michael Hudoba, 71, a former journalist and president of the National Press Club, and his wife, Frances, 65, died in the Potomac River Saturday after their motorboat capsized in rough water near Colonial Beach, Va., authorities reported.
A second former press club president, Lucian Warren, 71, and his wife, Katherine, 69, of Issue, Md., were rescued after clinging to the overturned 19-foot outboard amid waves 3 to 4 feet high. They were rescued after what they estimated to be about half an hour in the river.
The Hudobas, who lived in Hume, Va., and their guests were reportedly within 500 yards of their destination on the Virginia shore when the boat suddenly began shipping water shortly before 6 p.m.
Before any of the four on board could don a life preserver, the Warrens said, the boat turned over.
Lucian Warren said that Mrs. Hudoba, who could not swim, was unable to cling to the boat. In the rough water, he said, "waves washed over her so much she choked. . . . " Warren said her husband was lost in an unavailing effort to save her.
Warren said he and his wife "tried to help them as much as we could," but their efforts "were in vain."
The four had expected to spend the afternoon fishing, but abandoned plans when the river grew rough, Warren said. Rather than try to return the Warrens to the Maryland shore by boat, he said, Hudoba decided to make for the Virginia shore where he planned to dock the boat and then take his guests home by car.
The Potomac is five to six miles wide near the point where the accident occurred, authorities said. It is spanned by the Rte. 301 bridge about half a dozen miles upriver.
After being rescued, Warren said, he and his wife felt chills for about an hour, but suffered no other ill effects.
The bodies of the two victims were recovered on the Virginia shoreline about an hour after the accident and were taken for autopsy to the state medical examiner's office in Richmond.
Known as a conservationist and enthusiastic boater and fisherman, Hudoba was a columnist for many years for Sports Afield magazine. He also had written an outdoors column for the old Washington Daily News and worked in public relations. He was president of the National Press Club in 1970.
Warren, who was correspondent here for many years for the Buffalo newspapers, headed the press club in 1955.