1 dead, 1 missing after 12 kayakers go over Virginia dam

Nine kayakers were rescued by authorities and one was a self-rescue.

June 2, 2022, 5:33 AM

One woman has died and another is missing after a group of 12 kayakers became stranded and then went over Bosher's Dam in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday afternoon.

Ten kayakers were rescued shortly after the incident took place on the James River at around 3 p.m. local time, according to Richmond Fire Department Assistant Chief Jeffrey Segal. The dam has a 12-foot drop.

PHOTO: Missing kayaker Lauren Winstead is pictured in an undated photo released by the Henrico County Police
Missing kayaker Lauren Winstead is pictured in an undated photo released by the Henrico County Police.
Handout via Henrico County Police

Two kayakers -- identified by the Henrico County Police Division as Lauren Winstead and Sarah Erway -- were initially deemed missing. Their last known location was where most of the kayakers were rescued. Winstead's body was recovered from the James River on Wednesday afternoon, while the search for Erway has transitioned from a rescue mission into a recovery operation, police said.

The search and rescue mission for the missing women ceased Monday night because it was getting dark, Segal had said. The operation resumed the next morning.

PHOTO: Missing kayaker Sarah Erway is pictured in an undated photo released by the Henrico County Police.
Missing kayaker Sarah Erway is pictured in an undated photo released by the Henrico County Police.
Handout via Henrico County Police

Henrico County Police Division spokesman Lt. Matthew Pecka said Tuesday that multiple agencies responded to assist in the search between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., searching from the Bosher Dam to Powhite Parkway along the James River. Agencies used drones, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and inflatable vessels in their efforts, Pecka said.

The search continued Wednesday. That evening, Henrico County Police Division took to Twitter to announce that search teams had recovered Winstead's body from the James River, just west of the Powhite Parkway Bridge, at approximately 1:30 p.m. local time.

PHOTO: Henrico County Police released video images of crews searching for missing kayakers Lauren E. Winstead of Henrico County and 28-year-old Sarah E. Erway of Chesterfield County in James River in Richmond, Va., May 31, 2022.
Henrico County Police released video images of crews searching for missing kayakers Lauren E. Winstead of Henrico County and 28-year-old Sarah E. Erway of Chesterfield County in James River in Richmond, Va., May 31, 2022.
Henrico County Police

"Our deepest condolences are with Ms. Winstead's family during this difficult time," police tweeted. "The search for Sarah Erway will continue and is transitioning from a search and rescue mission to a recovery operation."

It was unclear if all the kayakers knew each other, according to Segal, and if they were all physically inside the kayaks at the time of the emergency.

ABC's Derricke Dennis reports:

ABC News' Ben Siu contributed to this report.

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