Crews find, identify man who fell off boat into James River on Friday

Chesterfield and Henrico conducting water rescue Aug. 6.
Chesterfield and Henrico conducting water rescue Aug. 6.(Emily Harrison)
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 10:25 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2021 at 2:11 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Crews have found and identified the man who fell off a boat in the James River near the Dutch Gap boat landing in Chesterfield on Friday.

It was initially called in as a rescue, but hours later officials have switched to a recovery mode as they do not believe the man survived.

“We always want to do what we can in a rescue mode, but based on the situation we have transitioned to a recovery,” said Deputy Fire Marshal J.A. Harvey with Chesterfield Fire and EMS. “It was hours ago that we last had his location, we are using sonar technology to find him now.”

Crews from Chesterfield and Henrico County began searching for the person around 8:39 a.m. Friday. Officials say it’s unclear what exactly happened to cause the person to fall off the boat.

“The Chesterfield Police Department is now handling that investigation, this was an initial report of an adult man that was in the water,” Harvey said.

Authorities used a diving team and sonar technology to try and find the man. The coast guard also had a helicopter on scene searching for him. The search for the man continued over the weekend and ended Monday morning when the man’s body was found.

Crews recovered Gary Lee Lane, 78, of Hopewell, around 9:50 a.m. on Aug. 9 near the Meadowville Landing subdivision in Chester, about 2.5 miles from the point of impact.

The water in the area of the initial search was contaminated, so divers had to be assessed and clean afterward. The water was contaminated on Tuesday after 300,000 gallons of raw sewage were leaked into Tuckahoe Creek.

“We don’t have any evidence to say that the water is unsafe, but with the recent circumstances and out of an abundance of caution we want to make sure our people are being taken care of,” said Harvey.”

The man’s boat was later recovered by Chesterfield Fire and EMS. No one else was hurt or lost during this incident.

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