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World PICTURED: Boy, seven, missing in North Carolina tubing tragedy

04:16  19 june  2021
04:16  19 june  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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a woman wearing sunglasses posing for the camera: Missing: Isiah Crawford, age seven, is still missing 48 hours after the tubing tragedy © Provided by Daily Mail Missing: Isiah Crawford, age seven, is still missing 48 hours after the tubing tragedy

A seven-year-old boy is still missing and a girl, 14, is among the confirmed dead after a family of nine plunged over a dam while tubing on a North Carolina river on Thursday.

Rockingham County officials on Friday identified the names of the family members involved in the tragedy, after the family went over the Duke Energy dam on the Dan River in Eden.

Rescued after hours in the water were Ruben Villano, 30, of Eden, his son Eric Villano, 14, his daughter Irene Villano, 18, and Ruben's nephew Karlos Villano, 14, who was visiting from La Porte, Indiana.

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Kyla Pratt, Fefe Dobson posing for the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Killed in the tragedy were Bridish Crawford, 27, Antonio Ramon, 30, and Sophie Wilson, 14, who was also visiting from La Porte.

Still missing are Reuben's sister Teresa Villano, 30, and Bridish's son Isiah Crawford, age seven.

'This is a very tragic situation. There are a lot of people involved in this search over the past 26 hours, and we're going to continue the search,' said Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page.

'We want to find these people and make sure they're ok, but we also want to ask you to say a prayer for the families, the ones who lost a loved one,' he added.

In a heartbreaking Facebook post, Sophie's mother Megan Heitz lamented her teen daughter's death.

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'Words can't explain what we feel right now, she was my best friend, a sweetheart and had so much life to live she was the most amazing daughter in so many ways, my life will never ever be the same a piece of me died,' the grieving mother wrote.

A family friend in Indiana has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Sophie's funeral arrangements.

Another family member, Meya Suggs, also posted an emotional tribute to Bridish, writing: 'With out you I don’t know where I would be. You have been there through my good days and through my bad.'

'I hate that this happened I was just on the phone with you. Before that phone call ended that last words we said to each other was “I love you friend “ I will forever hold those words in heart! I love you friend always and forever,' she wrote.

The tragedy occurred on Wednesday night, but a search was not launched until the following afternoon, when a Duke Energy worker spotted some of the victims clinging to structures and their tubes and called 911.

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The survivors spent some 19 hours in the water before they were rescued. Authorities speculated that they were not able to call for help because they had no cell phones.

Rockingham County Emergency Services Director Rodney Cates said the search for the two still missing was being suspended late Friday afternoon and would resume Saturday.

He said he was still optimistic the two missing tubers could be found alive. Air searches are not planned for Saturday, but boat searches will resume.

Earlier in the day, rescue personnel were seen hauling rafts toward the water Friday at a staging area in Eden, north of Greensboro near the Virginia state line.

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'We're still positive and optimistic, but we´ll see how things go tomorrow,' Cates told reporters.

The mother of the 14-year-old Karlos, who survived, told WGHP he was tired after being pulled from the water more than 20 hours into the harrowing ordeal.

The woman said her son was physically fine but mentally distraught. He was released from the hospital on Thursday night.

Karlos was visiting his aunt and uncle when the accident happened at around 7.30pm Wednesday.

The 14-year-old was said to have tried to get to his other family members to help them, but could not do it.

Cates said the situation was called in to 911 by a Duke Energy employee who saw some of the tubers at the bottom of the dam around 3.15pm on Thursday.

The group got into trouble when their three round inflatable rafts, which had been lashed together, came untied. Each person was floating on their own tube when they went over the dam.

Cates said there are signs on the river that warn about the dam downstream.

'People usually get out before the dam,' Cates said.

Glenn Bozorth, who operated a water sports business on the Dan River for 25 years, told Greensboro News and Record that people often underestimate the force of the current at the base of dams.

'When the water goes over the dam, it creates a circular motion that pulls you under,' he said, 'it sucks you under and once you're drowned, you float downstream and get hung up somewhere or hung up under water.'

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First responders indicated the survivors were caught in fast-moving water near the dam when they were found, according to recordings of scanner traffic on broadcastify.com.

First responders can be heard over public safety radio ordering boats and other swift water rescue equipment to the area shortly after the 911 call came in Thursday around 3:15 p.m.

'We're taking a call on the Dan River at the dam near the Duke Energy plant. Caller is advising five tubers … went over the dam,' one person says.

A rescuer says some of the tubers were stuck near the dam because of the pull of water flowing over it.

'They're on that side … at the abutment for the dam. And they're all caught in the pull. If you can come over … we can probably pull them out pretty good, hopefully,' the rescuer can be heard saying.

Cates told reporters Friday that debris and rocks in the river can puncture tubes or rafts, so it's important for people to wear life preservers. He said it wasn't clear if any of the nine were using life preservers.

Missing North Carolina tubers ID’d as woman, 30, and boy, 7; search to resume Saturday

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'The current of the river makes it very hard to navigate, even for the most experienced swimmers. So we strongly encourage people to wear some type of personal floatation device in addition to the tube they're in,' he said.

It is unclear at this time why the family of nine did not get out of their tubes before they reached the dam.

Rescuers launched a search effort in the county north of Greensboro along the Virginia state line on Thursday night.

Personnel from Pittsylvania County and Danville were also involved in the efforts and helped recover three bodies.

State Highway Patrol also helped, dispatching a helicopter equipped with forward-looking infrared cameras, technology designed to enhance night vision and detect heat sources, to aid the search.

Cates said rescue teams were 'staying positive' about rescuing two people who are still missing.

'We're going to stay positive that we can do a rescue rather than a recovery,' he said

'We have done both an air and water search at this time. We've had an aircraft that has flown the river.

'They flew 6 miles into Virginia, they came back widened their perimeter and flew the ground area adjacent to the river,' Cates added.

Body of seven-year-old found in river - days after tubing accident killed three of his relatives

  Body of seven-year-old found in river - days after tubing accident killed three of his relatives The body of a seven-year-old has been found in a North Carolina river, almost four days after a tubing accident. © Associated Press The body of Isiah Crawford was found on Sunday, leaving one person still missing The boy - Isiah Crawford - was among a group of nine people who floated down the Dan River on inflatable tubes on Wednesday, and went over a dam.His body is the fourth to be recovered and a member of the public reported seeing it near a boat landing in the town of Eden, about 35 miles north of Greensboro, on Sunday morning.

He said it was not immediately clear why the tubers did not contact authorities sooner, but he said it may have been because they didn't have phones with them.

He said it's not unusual for people to float the river on tubes or rafts in the area but most get out and walk around the dam.

He added a warning for anyone tubing on the water, asking people to be careful as there is a 'pretty steep drop' from the dam.

'Know where you are, know your surroundings have your safety vest your life vest, the inner tube may not always stay inflated and if the inner tube is not inflated you need some type of floatation device to secure you as you are coming on down the river,' he said.

a group of people on a raft in a body of water: Emergency Services Director Cates said it's not unusual for people to float the river on tubes or rafts in the area but most get out and walk around the dam, which is marked by signs (stock image) © Provided by Daily Mail Emergency Services Director Cates said it's not unusual for people to float the river on tubes or rafts in the area but most get out and walk around the dam, which is marked by signs (stock image) Read more

Body of seven-year-old found in river - days after tubing accident killed three of his relatives .
The body of a seven-year-old has been found in a North Carolina river, almost four days after a tubing accident. © Associated Press The body of Isiah Crawford was found on Sunday, leaving one person still missing The boy - Isiah Crawford - was among a group of nine people who floated down the Dan River on inflatable tubes on Wednesday, and went over a dam.His body is the fourth to be recovered and a member of the public reported seeing it near a boat landing in the town of Eden, about 35 miles north of Greensboro, on Sunday morning.

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