Authorities ID missing women after group goes over Virginia dam

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Authorities in Virginia identified two women missing Tuesday after a group of people in rafts and on paddleboards went over the Bosher Dam on the James River a day earlier.

Henrico Police said they have worked with friends and families of Lauren E. Winstead, 23, of Henrico County and Sarah E. Erway, 28, of Chesterfield County, listing them as missing.

On Monday, May 30, 2022 in the early afternoon, area first responders from the counties of Chesterfield and Henrico,…

Posted by Henrico County Police on Tuesday, May 31, 2022

WWBT-TV reported that 12 people were involved in the accident Monday afternoon. WAVY-TV reported the dam has a 12-foot drop, and that water levels have been high. Images of the search show the river seemingly placid above the dam, but roiling below, with some of the group's paddleboards and inflatable rafts caught in the currents below the rush of water.

One of them managed to reach a nearby house for help. Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Segal said kayakers in the area helped rescue nine more. But Segal said two women were unaccounted for despite a very thorough search.

Crews searched for the two women until dusk and the search resumed Tuesday morning, Henrico County police said in a news release.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Henrico Police Department at 804-501-5000.

Police warned that the river is at dangerous levels in some areas and anyone entering the river should be extremely cautious.

Local resident Finn Gardner told WWBT that someone banged on their window saying their group went over the dam.

“So, we ran out there, and we were trying to help get people out of the water and make sure that everyone was accounted for … Unfortunately, we couldn't find two of them,” Gardner said. “I'm hoping that they're in someone's house somewhere trying to find a way to contact their group. You got to hope for the best.”

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