Sunday, October 1, 2023

UPDATE: VSP assisting VGDIF in search of boaters missing on James River

Update 10:30 a.m Saturday: The Virginia State Police (VSP) is assisting the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries with the search efforts of two missing hunters. According to a Facebook post, team divers went back on the James River Saturday morning to assist in the search for the hunters who went missing on Wednesday night. 

Update 12:00 p.m. Friday: Coast Guard Petty Officer Corinne Zilnicki said the search has been suspended until further notice.

Two boaters went out at the Jamestown Yacht Basin on Wednesday night and still haven’t returned.

The U.S. Coast Guard is looking for the two missing men who went missing on the James River, but have not found them yet, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki.

The Coast Guard Air Station at Elizabeth City did an air search at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning but were unable to find the men.

The search was still underway at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Zilnicki said.

Zilnicki said the only lead the Coast Guard has so far is a 16-foot boat that washed ashore at Hog Island. It was found by a Virginia State Police officer around 4:40 a.m. Friday morning, and matched the description of the one the boaters took out on the water Wednesday night.

Two boaters went missing on Wednesday near the Jamestown Yacht Basin. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)
Two boaters went missing on Wednesday near the Jamestown Yacht Basin. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

The missing boaters left on Wednesday night, before the snowstorm, to cross the James River to their duck blind at Gray’s Creek, in Surry.

By Thursday afternoon, the boaters had not returned and were reported missing, according to Zilnicki.

The boaters headed out on the water on the verge of a winter snow storm that dumped 5 to 10 inches of snow in the area and treacherous water conditions, according to Zilnicki.

Authorities from the Hampton Roads sector of the Coast Guard continue the search.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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