Dan river tubing accident victims identified at North Carolina river in Eden, as three family members are killed, four relatives saved and two still missing as search efforts continue.
Rockingham County officials have identified the extended family of nine, involved in a tubing accident that led to three people killed and two missing after a party of five went over the edge of a steep dam in North Carolina.
It was while tubing along the Dan river in Eden, Wednesday evening, that several of the tubes which had been tied to each other, become untied and floated over a steep energy dam. Killed were two adults and a teen, while authorities said two individuals remained missing, including a 7 year old boy.
Miraculously, four family members, including three teens were able to survive, despite spending up to 19 hours in the water.
Identified as the deceased were; Bridish Crawford, 27, Antonio Ramon, 30, and Sophie Wilson, 14, according to ABC 11.
Ruben Villano, 35, his son Eric Villano, 14, his daughter Irene Villano, 18, and his nephew Karlos Villano, 14, were identified as the survivors. Reuben’s sister Teresa Villano, 30, and Bridish’s son, Isiah Crawford, 7, were reported to still be missing.
‘people are discouraged from tubing near the dam.’
‘We’re going to stay positive that we can do a rescue rather than a recovery,’ Rockingham County Emergency Services Director Rodney Cates said during a press conference on Friday.
Boats and helicopters would continue to search going into the weekend officials pledged.
Cates explained that it was not uncommon for recreation seekers to float on the river near the 8-foot dam, and for most people to get off their tubes or rafts and walk around the dam, which is marked by signs.
Lt. Kevin Suthard, a spokesperson for the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office intimated at the dangers of tubing along the Dan river.
‘Tubing is a regular activity in the area,’ Suthard said, while adding, ‘people are discouraged from tubing near the dam.’
Not immediately clear is what safeguards had been put into place and why despite potential risks, organizers continued to facilitate the rides.
News of the fatalities led to the youngest victim’s mother confirming her daughter’s death late Friday.
‘As many may have heard yes my daughter Sophia Wilson passed away in a tragic tubing accident visiting family in North Carolina,’ Megan Heitz posted on Facebook.
‘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.’