A man and woman have been found dead after a search for the couple, who disappeared while boating Wednesday on the Potomac River.
Authorities found their empty boat, its engine still turned on, on Wednesday night after a friend reported that the Stafford couple had not returned from their excursion.
Candy Thomson, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, said that the man’s body was found first Thursday, about a thousand yards south of the boat. A citizen later called police to report seeing the woman’s body Thursday afternoon, and police recovered her body from the water.
Police had earlier identified the missing couple as Charles A. Zintner, 58, and Melissa R. Smarr, 55, of Stafford, Va. Thomson said that police have not yet confirmed that Zintner and Smarr are the two people pulled from the water Thursday.
The National Weather Service issued a special marine warning from 4:06 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for strong thunderstorms in the area where the couple was boating.
Authorities said they do not know when the couple went out on the 19-foot boat, so they may not have been out during the dangerous weather window.
A friend noticed that they had not returned late Wednesday, and the Landmark Yacht Club in Stafford reported them missing about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to the local sheriff’s office.
“They told the Landmark Yacht Club they were going out and said they would be back,” Thomson said. “When they did not return, the yacht club reported them missing.”
Rescue crews began looking for them Wednesday night, and a helicopter spotted the boat they were on, anchored about a half-mile off the Virginia shoreline, just north of Aquia Creek. The spot where the boat was found sits about a mile from the yacht club, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. No one was aboard the boat.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Coast Guard Commander Michael Keane said that the boat’s engine and radio had been left on. It was out of fuel.
The search for the pair resumed Thursday at daybreak, Thomson said. The Coast Guard, Charles County sheriff’s office and Maryland State Police have been involved in the search effort.
Authorities said at a news conference that the man was not wearing a life jacket. At the time of the news conference, the woman’s body had not yet been found.
Angela Fritz contributed to this report.