Virginia

2 Missing After Group on Rafts, Paddleboards Go Over Virginia Dam

12 people went over the Bosher Dam on the James River. Police say two women in their 20s are unaccounted for despite a very thorough search

NBC Universal, Inc.

Authorities in Virginia identified two women missing Tuesday after a group of people in rafts and on paddleboards went over the Bosher Dam on the James River a day earlier.

NBC affiliate WWBT reported that 12 people were involved in the accident Monday afternoon. WAVY-TV reported the dam has a 12-foot drop, and that water levels have been high. Images of the search show the river seemingly placid above the dam, but roiling below, with some of the group's paddleboards and inflatable rafts caught in the currents below the rush of water.

STAY IN THE KNOW

icon

Watch NBC10 Boston news for free, 24/7, wherever you are.

icon

Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.

One of them managed to reach a nearby house for help. Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Segal said kayakers in the area helped rescue nine more. But Segal said two women were unaccounted for despite a very thorough search.

Crews searched for the two women until dusk and the search resumed Tuesday morning, Henrico County police said in a news release. Police said they have worked with friends and families of Lauren E. Winstead, 23, of Henrico County and Sarah E. Erway, 28, of Chesterfield County, listing them as missing.

Police warned that the river is at dangerous levels in some areas and anyone entering the river should be extremely cautious.

Local resident Finn Gardner told WWBT that someone banged on their window saying their group went over the dam.

“So, we ran out there, and we were trying to help get people out of the water and make sure that everyone was accounted for ... Unfortunately, we couldn’t find two of them,” Gardner said. “I’m hoping that they’re in someone’s house somewhere trying to find a way to contact their group. You got to hope for the best.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us