WEEKEND #8, 2006

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware


Rescuers comfort a distraught man after a Gaithersburg, Maryland man drowned Sunday evening while he and his wife were harvesting clams in the Sinepuxent Bay at Assateague Island National Seashore. Ted Morlock, assistant park ranger, said the couple stepped into deep water. He said they were not proficient swimmers, and the man drowned, but his wife was rescued and taken to the hospital.

Below, lifeguards and firefighters conduct a grid search of the Sinepuxent Bay. More than an hour later, the man's body was discovered. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Photos by Christopher Casale/Jessica Wagaman, Breaking News Network freelance photographers.


On both Saturday and Sunday, lifeguards in Rehoboth Beach whistled swimmers from the surf after spotting objects in the water consistent with dorsal fins.

Just before noon on Saturday, guards and beach visitors spotted several fin-like objects in the surf just yards from shore and ordered people from the water for about 30 minutes from Olive Avenue to the south end of town. Just before 12:15 p.m., the guard on Wilmington Avenue, below, said she was seeing "lots of pointers."

The guards speculated that they may have been seeing skates (or rays) or tiger sand sharks which may have been feeding along the shore. Dolphins, which were also in the area, were farther from shore and not eating the same food source. A school of bay fish was reported in the area as well.

One guard was convinced he spotted a five-inch dorsal fin about 10 to 20 yards off Hickman Street. Another guard on Wilmington Avenue stated "Whatever this is, there's definitely quite a few of them."

The guards exchanged extensive details over the radio with each other regarding the possible shark sightings and also what to tell beach goers. "If people come up to you asking questions," radioed one guard, tell them "we're taking precautionary measures ... you can probably get a worse bite from a dog ...."

Another guard suggested to simply tell visitors that they "assume they're skates," although at that point at least one guard sounded convinced he spotted a five-inch dorsal fin off Hickman Street consistent with a small shark, such as a tiger sand shark.

"Let's just try to quit saying the word 'shark' on the radio," said one guard, "because people are all around our chairs listening and it's definitely not anything they need to hear at all."

For those with high-speed Internet access, the guard's entire radio chatter made for fascinating listening. This 21-meg file starts shortly after noon on Saturday and runs through quitting time. Even those with high-speed Internet connections will take several minutes to download it, but it's fascinating listening.

People at the foot of Rehoboth Avenue watched eagerly to catch just a glimpse of a suspected shark, below.

On Sunday, lifeguards once again cleared swimmers from the water just after 1 p.m. when this fin-like object was spotted in the Deauville section on the north side of town.

Groups of bystanders watched as what appeared to be the fin worked its way northward just feet from shore.

Later, beach goers seemed puzzled at times, because it was as if tiger sand sharks and skates could have been feeding in the same area.

About 30 minutes after lifeguards cleared the surf, several beach goers in the Deauville area watched what appeared to be a skate (below) and mistook it for a shark. Still others confused dolphins farther from shore as sharks.

Both the possible tiger sand shark and skate images (above) were captured from digital8 video. Both video files are now posted online at the links below. Although they are only a few seconds of video, both take several minutes to load, even for users with high-speed Internet access.

Suspected tiger sand shark (15 megs) and apparent skate (21.5 megs).

When a similar sighting was reported last summer on July 5, the beach patrol evacuated the surf. During the following days, TV crews from several different states visited Rehoboth Beach to report on the possible sightings.

Capt. Kent Buckson told a D.C. television station Sunday morning that guards ordered the people from the surf on Saturday as a precaution because of some marine life, possibly skates, rays or possibly even tiger sand sharks.


The three candidates competing for two commissioner seats answered questions Friday night at the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners' Association's annual candidate's forum held at the All Saints Episcopal Church.

The candidates will meet again with the local chamber of commerce and property owners of Rehoboth's Country Club Estates.

Moderator Stan Mills (right) asks Pat Coluzzi (left), Paul Kuhns, and Kathy McGuiness pre-selected questions as about 50-some visitors listened.


Numerous musty-smelling legal-size folders of legal documents, mostly from the 1980's were found discarded in this Rehoboth Beach recycle bin Saturday evening. Much of what was contained in the folders appeared to be publicly filed deeds and plot plans. However, some folders included personal correspondence as well as a couple social security numbers.


















The Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company showed off its new fire museum at its 100th anniversary open house on Sunday. Above left, Commissioner Ron Paterson and his wife tour the new fire museum which features historical photos, legacy firefighting gear and related items. The star attraction is the red 1954 Ward La France 1000 g.p.m. pumper with a 1000-gallon tank.


On Friday and Saturday, the Rehoboth Beach Patrol called for police to remove unauthorized vehicles parked in the lifeguard parking space on Stockley Street. But in both cases, the vehicles were gone by the time police arrived.

One was a Lexus SUV found in the space around 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The other was a Dodge Grand Caravan about the same time on Saturday. The police often are unable to respond immediately because of more important calls.

The situation is similar to last summer when some of those towed (or almost towed) from the space on the left claimed the sign only applies to the space on the right. Police responded to these reserved spaces at least nine times last season. The sign is about 20 inches from the center line between the two reserved lifeguard spaces.