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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Police ID the two canoers who died in York County

The Virginia Marine Police have identified the two men who died after their canoe capsized Monday near the mouth of the Poquoson River in York County.

They were Benjamin Leeming, 26 of Newport News and David Nicks, 24, of York County.

Their bodies were found not far offshore from Jennings Drive, said York Fire Chief Stephen Kopczynski.

Details of the incident have not been released pending the outcome of the investigation being conducted by the Virginia Marine Police.

The men’s bodies were recovered 600 yards offshore by Newport News and York county divers after being located by side-scan sonar. They were recovered at approximately 5:35 p.m. Monday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Three men had gone out on the canoe around 11:30 p.m. Sunday at the Boat House Cove area of Dare where it capsized at one point.

One was able to swim back to shore around the 100 block of Jennings Drive and call for help. His name has not been released.

First responders were notified shortly before 4:30 a.m Monday and sent to the scene in the 100 block of Jennings Drive, authorities said.

Several agencies spent most of the day Monday searching for the two men.

RELATED STORY: Search crews recover bodies of missing canoers in York County

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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