Troopers Identify Brothers Who Drowned In MurderKill River Near Bowers Beach

Photo: Marcia Banks

South Bowers Beach – On June 30, 2020, at 2:59 p.m., the Delaware State Police responded to the Muderkill River/South Bowers area for a report of two swimmers that had been carried away by the strong water currents.

The investigation revealed that 21-year-old Kevin George Jr. of Philadelphia, his brother, 20-year-old Zion George of Tennessee, a 20-year-old female from Philadelphia, and a 20-year-old male from Philadelphia all traveled to the South Bowers Beach area together for a day trip at approximately 2:00 p.m.

The three males entered the water in the Delaware Bay to go swimming during low tide conditions. As they were in the water, the tide changed, and the strong current pulled all three into the Murderkill River. During this time, the Assistant Chief of South Bowers Beach Fire Department Michael Hignutt and his cousin, Timothy Smith, were fishing in the area and heard cries for help.

Both Hignutt and Smith entered the water in an attempt to rescue the swimmers. Hignutt successfully rescued the 20-year-old male to shore and discovered the female had now entered the water to try and save the other two individuals. The female was then pulled out by the current, and Hignutt successfully rescued her.

Kevin and Zion were unable to be located, and multiple police, fire departments, maritime, and Emergency Medical Service agencies responded to the scene and conducted a search and rescue operation. As of 9:00 p.m., the brothers were unable to be located, and the search efforts were suspended until 9:00 a.m. on July 1, 2020.

At approximately 9:00 a.m., the operation turned into a search and recovery mission for Kevin and Zion. At approximately 10:30 a.m., Kevin was located in the Murderkill River in close proximity to where he was last seen. At 10:45 a.m., Zion was located in the same general area.

The multi-agency operation included crews from:
South Bowers Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Bowers Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Frederica Volunteer Fire Department, Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department, Little Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Leipsic Volunteer Fire Department, Milford Volunteer Fire Department, Volunteer Fire Departments from New Castle County, Volunteer Scuba Diving Teams from Sussex County Volunteer Fire Departments, United States Coast Guard, Kent County Paramedics, a Dive Team from Wicomico County, Maryland.

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