Saturday, May 21, 2022

Search continues for missing College Creek swimmer

Update Tuesday 1:45 p.m.

The search continues for a missing swimmer who police believe may have drowned near College Creek Monday night. 

According to Stephanie Williams of the James City County Police Department, the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Virginia Marine Police assisted in what began as a rescue operation around 7:15 p.m. Monday. 

The search was for 23-year-old Tony Jimenez Garcia of Chesterfield, who went missing while swimming out to a sandbar at College Creek. By 10:15 p.m., the rescue operation turned into a recovery operation, Williams said. 

“We pulled the divers from the waterways,” Williams said. “We used boats with side scan sonar to search the area.”

The search ended around 11 p.m. and resumed the following morning around 6 a.m. — with total of 10 agencies working to assist in the recovery operation, Williams said.

The search was put on hold for a brief period Tuesday afternoon. Divers had to be pulled from the water due to strong currents, but planned to re-enter the water at 2:30 p.m. 

“At this point our plan is to not stop until we locate him,” Williams said. 

A total of 10 agencies assisted in the recovery operation for a swimmer who went missing near College Creek Monday. (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)
A total of 10 agencies assisted in the recovery operation for a swimmer who went missing near College Creek Monday. (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)

Update Tuesday 9:45 a.m.:

The National Park Service has temporarily shut down the Colonial Parkway between Kingspoint and Jamestown while James City County police and fire departments search for the victim of a suspected drowning at College Creek.

According to a county news release, the Parkway will remain closed until further notice.

Update 10:45 p.m.:

Police have identified a 23-year-old man who may have drowned at College Creek Monday evening.

At 10:45 p.m., rescue teams were still searching for Tony Jimenez Garcia, who went missing while swimming around 7:15 p.m. Monday evening, according to a James City County news release.

Garcia, a Chesterfield resident, was visiting the area with a church group for the day, the release said.

Witnesses told police Garcia and a relative were fishing, then went into the water to cool off. The tried to swim to a sandbar, which was when Garcia went underwater and did not resurface, the release said.

First responders were still on scene at 11 p.m. using side scan sonar to aid the recovery efforts. If they are unsuccessful Monday night, recovery operations will resume Tuesday morning, the release said.

The National Park Service, Williamsburg Fire Department, Virginia Marine Police, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard assisted James City County in the recovery efforts.

College Creek in James City County. The creek is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. (WYDaily file photo)

Original story: James City County dive teams were searching for a swimmer who went missing at College Creek Monday evening.

According to Stephanie Williams of the James City County Police Department, police responded to a call around 7:41 p.m. A group of five swimmers reported a 23-year-old Chesterfield man had gone out into the water and not returned.

Dive teams from both James City County police and fire departments responded to the call. Coast Guard rescue teams were en route to the area around 9 p.m.

The incident is being considered a “recovery operation,” Williams said.

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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