Yesterday promised to be another slog in the godawful heat and humidity that defines DC in August. I lit out on Big Nellie for a ride around the neighborhood, my 30-mile constitutional. Another ho-hum day riding around in circles awaited.
I made my way to Fort Hunt Park and rode the 1 1/2 mile circuit over and over. On my first lap I heard a siren outside the park. It was moving toward the nearby GW Parkway and Mount Vernon Trail. On my next lap I heard a helicopter. I immediately assumed that it was a medivac flight for some unfortunate trail user, the victim of heat exhaustion or a bike crash. As the helicopter crossed through a gap in the tree canopy I saw that it was a Fairfax County Police helicopter. They are used to search, often for ne’er-do-wells. Another lap later I saw the helicopter drop low over the Parkway and Trail, heading north fast. A pursuit?
I left the park and made my way through the neighborhoods immediately west of the Parkway and Trail. As I rode toward the Parkway on Waynewood Boulevard I could see police and fire department vehicles parked on the Parkway. There must have been ten assorted vehicles: fire engines, ambulances, police cruisers and SUVs – marked and unmarked. The focus of the assembled responders was on the opposite side of the Parkway where there was activity on the slope going down to the Potomac River.
I talked with some bystanders but no one had any information about what was happening. Clearly some kind of search was involved. After a few minutes, someone said that there were police boats in the river.
Today this notice was posted on the Park Police website.
I went back to the search site today just as a police vehicle pulled up with a search dog. Doesn’t look good.
It is times like these when I remember going for a walk with my friend Owen back in high school. It was a dreary night with low clouds. One of us said, “Nothing ever happens around here.” Within minutes a plane flew over our head, on the flight path to the airport six miles away. It didn’t look or sound right but the clouds and the darkness obscured it from view. We looked at each other then took off in the direction of the plane. THUD.
The plane had crashed into a house about a mile away.
Embrace the ennui. my friends.