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Motorcyclist’s Body Found Following Extended Search Effort

George Washington Memorial Parkway

National Park News

On the evening of Monday, May 26th, the Park Police were notified that a motorcycle had left the roadway on the northbound side of the parkway south of the first scenic overlook – an area with a steep embankment between the roadway and the river, plus heavy underbrush and thick foliage. An extensive search for the motorcyclist was conducted in conjunction with local fire and emergency services units, the harbor patrol, and the military. The USPP’s ‘Eagle’ helicopter searched from overhead using a FLIR thermal imaging camera. Fire department personnel lowered rescuers with ropes and extended truck ladders over the embankment while harbor patrol units searched from the water. The motorcycle, a blue sports bike, was located that night on the embankment between the roadway and the river. Search and rescue efforts had to be suspended for safety reasons around 11:15 p.m., but resumed early the next morning. The motorcyclist – Nathan Townsend, 22, of Alexandria, Virginia – was found in the woods near the crash site. He was a member of the military and was stationed in the area. The parkway was closed in both directions during the evening’s search and rescue efforts and the associated investigation. The northbound lanes were completely blocked with rescue vehicles, while the southbound lanes had to be closed due to a serious crash involving an SUV. The driver had been distracted by the search operation and rolled the vehicle in the median. A tire from the vehicle broke off and struck a fire truck. All traffic traveling southbound was detoured onto Route 123 and northbound traffic onto Spout Run. Southbound lanes were reopened after the search was suspended.



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