13-year-old Perryville boy drowns in Susquehanna River

Posted at 1:54 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 18:06:11-04
When the search resumed Wednesday morning, members of his family stood vigil at the end of the Lower Ferry Pier where 13-year-old Dylan Pierce slipped and fell into the waters of the Susquehanna River the previous day.
Perryville Police Chief Allen Miller says Dylan was in the company of three friends, but he didn't know how to swim, which made it impossible for them to pull him out.
"A friend jumped in after him to assist the victim,” said Miller. “Unfortunately, because of the victim flailing, he was unable to assist in any way."
The young teens ran and alerted a pair of construction workers that Dylan had disappeared below the water's surface, but they could see no sign of him, and even rescue boats equipped with trained divers spent hours searching to no avail.
"Visibility is next to nothing and with current conditions and debris underneath the water, it makes search efforts and recovery efforts very difficult---rescue or otherwise," said Asst. Chief Shawn Buchanan of the Community Fire Company of Perryville.
Ultimately, the Havre de Grace Fire Company's Marine Unit used a boat with high-tech sonar to locate the young teen's body 15 feet down.
"The outcome---we would have liked it to have been better obviously, but I think given the situation, everybody worked well and did everything they could to locate him," said Buchanan.
Tragically, it appears that same pier from which Dylan fell was once outfitted with a lifeguard ring on a rope to be used in such instances, but it was nowhere to be found when it was needed the most. 
"We have had lifesaving devices on that pier.  Unfortunately, they've been stolen in the past,” said Miller. “At this time, I don't believe there was a life-saving device, a flotation device, on the pier.  So it's very unfortunate for this young man."
Police believe Dylan was a seventh grader at Perryville Middle School, and counselors have been made available as his young friends and family members awaited news of his fate.
Cecil County EMS spokesman Richard Brooks said Tuesday that water rescue boats from the Perryville Veterans Administration, Waterwitch Fire Company and the  Susquehanna Hose Company assisted the search, which had been suspended Tuesday night.

The city of Perryville issued the following statement:

"It is difficult when anyone passes away, but it is especially sad when the loss is of a child. Our hearts are broken for the family and friends of Dylan Pierce. We would like to send our condolences to his family."