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Two Women Missing After Group on Rafts and Paddleboards goes over Virginia Dam

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

Henrico Police said they have worked with the families and friends of Lauren E. Winstead, 23, of Henrico Country, and Sarah E. Erway, 28, of Chesterfield County, listing them as missing. 

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

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

Henrico County police said in a news release that search crews looked for the two women until dush and the search resumed on Tuesday morning.

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

Finn Gardener, who is a local resident, 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,” Gardener said. “I’m hoping that they’re in someone’s house somewhere trying to find a war to contact their group. You got to hope for the best.”

Henrico Police department asks that anyone with information call them at 804-501-5000


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