WEST OCEAN CITY — A Virginia man was arrested and charged with operating a vessel while impaired after running a 28-foot boat hard aground on a marsh early Sunday morning touching off an extensive search for its eight occupants.
Around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) received a call regarding a boat hard aground on a section of marsh just south of Snug Harbor in Sinepuxent Bay. The caller told the NRP the vessel had a lot of people on board and its lights were flashing on and off.
NRP officer responded and found a 28-foot Hydrosport boat with twin outboards in the marsh about 40 yards from the water’s edge and no one on board. NRP officers, with the help of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Berlin Fire Company began trying to find the occupants through an extensive land- and water-based search.
The Maryland State Police Trooper 4 helicopter was also called in to assist in the search for the eight occupants. Three people were found almost immediately. The other five were located during the extensive search. The operator of the vessel, identified as Stephen Hadley, 46, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and issued four citations for operating a vessel while impaired. The boat was removed from the marsh on Monday afternoon.