Two dead after boat capsizes on York River

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The boat that capsized in the York River July 12 (center) has been recovered and will be analyzed by investigators. It has not been determined why the boat capsized. (Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)
The boat that capsized in the York River July 12 (center) has been recovered and will be analyzed by investigators. It has not been determined why the boat capsized. (Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)

A capsized vessel at York River State Park Tuesday afternoon resulted in the deaths of a 35-year-old woman and a 9-year-old girl, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

At approximately 3 p.m., police received a call that a fishing boat with six passengers onboard had overturned near the Croaker boat landing at York River State Park.

Emergency personnel, including James City County Fire and Rescue, Virginia Marine Police and James City County police, arrived within 15 minutes of the call.

James City County Fire and Rescue pulled six people from the water, two of whom were unconscious and needed CPR. All six were sent to Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, but the two unconscious boaters died at the hospital.

The remaining four were treated for injuries and released.

Both victims were wearing life jackets in the water, said Lt. Scott Naff of the Virginia Department of Game and  Inland Fisheries. He also added the boaters may have been in the water for more than two hours before they were noticed.

Officials do not yet know why the vessel — a 20-foot fiberglass fishing boat — overturned.

“It’s not a boat that would typically capsize,” Naff said.

Naff hypothesized the boat may have taken on too much water as a result of choppy waves breaking over the front or back of the boat.

The last drowning at the Croaker boat landing occurred in May, when a kayaker was found dead. He was not wearing a life jacket, Naff said.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries urges people to be aware of river conditions when they go out on the water. They also emphasized the importance of boater safety classes. A law went into effect July 1 that requires all operators to take a safety class.