Search continues for swimmer’s body

Gregory Hoffman said he is at a loss about what to do as Prince William police divers search the Potomac River for his brother’s body.

“I’ve had death in my family before, but never with a twist like this,” Hoffman said from his home in Laurel, Del., where he waited for news from police.

Hoffman’s brother, Steven L. Hoffman, 43, of Dumfries was lost to the river about 5:30 p.m. Thursday as he and a friend swam near Cockpit Point.

“You’ve got decisions to make and you just don’t know what to do,” Hoffman, 41, said.

Steven Hoffman and others, who had been partying on a secluded beach near Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant, decided to wade out to a duck blind about 200 yards from the shore, witnesses at the scene said Thursday.

Prince William Police spokeswoman Kim Chinn said the river is shallow most of the way to the duck blind where Hoffman apparently drowned.

“It’s four or five feet deep almost all of the way to where they were going. Then it drops off to about eight feet. That’s where the people on the shore saw him disappear,” Chinn said.

One of Steven Hoffman’s roommates, Lesa Livingston, said that when Hoffman was halfway to the duckblind, he called out, “I can’t make it back.”

Shortly after, Hoffman disappeared into the water, Livingston said.

Six police divers searched the river until midnight Thursday and resumed at 8 a.m. Friday and will continue until they recover Hoffman’s body, Chinn said.

“They’ll search until they’re worn out,” Chinn said of the divers’ daily recovery efforts.

Chinn said it’s hard to determine how long the river will keep a body or where it will ultimately relinquish its victim.

“It all depends on conditions,” Chinn said. “It really depends on the currents; and they change all the time.”

Gregory Hoffman, who drives a Stroehmann Bakery truck, said he would probably resume his routine rather than sit and wait for news.

“I think I’m going to go on back to work tonight and if they find his body, I’ll just start all over,” Hoffman said.

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