Saturday, May 28, 2022

Warm temperatures, melting ice on James River aids in search for missing boaters

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia State Police continue the search for missing boaters Thursday morning. (Photo courtesy of Virginia State Police.)
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia State Police continue the search for missing boaters Thursday morning. (Photo courtesy of Virginia State Police)

The search for two boaters who went missing Jan. 3 is now in full force as the ice melts on the James River.

Two boaters, Brian Savage of Henrico County and Kyle Englehart of Charles City County, went out on the water at the Jamestown Yacht Basin on Jan. 3 — just before a snowstorm — and were reported missing the next day, according to Lee Walker, a spokesman with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

As the weather warms up on Thursday and melts the ice, there is a small window for officials to continue the search with below-the-surface sonar surveillance. Officials began using the equipment early Thursday morning.

The boaters headed out on the water last week on the verge of a winter snowstorm that dumped five to 10 inches of snow in the area, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki from the US Coast Guard.

The storm was accompanied by below-freezing temperatures and wind, and created treacherous water conditions

Authorities had to suspend the search Friday morning because the waterways were too frozen to navigate, Zilnicki said.

The Virginia State Police and VDGIF resumed the search Saturday.

Earlier efforts included drone flights and helicopter searchers to perform surveillance from the air and foot searches for ground surveillance. On Friday, the only lead officials had was a 16-foot boat that washed ashore on Hog Island, according to Zilnicki.

The weather through Saturday is predicted to be warm enough to melt the ice, but by Sunday, the area will experience freezing temperatures once again, according to The National Weather Service.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia State Police continue the search for missing boaters Thursday morning. (Photo courtesy of Virginia State Police.)
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia State Police continue the search for missing boaters Thursday morning. (Photo courtesy of Virginia State Police.)

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
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 alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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