Boy Scout Battles Choppy Bay Waves to Rescue Couple

Article excerpt

Byline: Guy Taylor

Scott Leins said he didn't think twice when he saw two persons struggling in choppy waves on Chesapeake Bay after their canoe capsized Friday night.

The 18-year-old Calvert County Boy Scout said, "I've always been taught if you can help, go ahead and help."

Scott dove in and rescued the couple, securing the man to a flotation device and helping the woman to shore before she went under.

They "didn't realize what they were getting into," said Debora Huddleston, the assistant general manager of the Chesapeake Ranch Estates, which surround Driftwood Beach, where the incident occurred.

The couple, Dona and Thomas Cook Jr., rent property in the estates, Miss Huddleston said.

"[The water] was choppy - matter of fact, it was real choppy for the Bay - and they just overturned," she said.

Scott was finishing up work about 8 p.m. at Lake Lariat, located between the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay, when a security patrolman from the estates told him a call came in about a man and woman drowning off Driftwood Beach, about two miles away.

He jumped in the patrolman's car, and the two drove to the beach, which overlooks the Bay near the mouth of the Patuxent River. When they arrived, the man was clinging to the canoe and the woman was trying to swim but was being swept away by the strong current.

"They had been holding on to the canoe for a while, and the woman tried to swim to shore," Scott said. She appeared to be struggling - very close to "going under," he said.

The patrolman called the Department of Natural Resources police, who normally handle such things, but "we thought the DNR would take too long to get there," Scott said.

So he dove in and made a swim for the canoe. …