Newport News, Va. – The bodies of two 20-year-old swimmers reported missing Tuesday afternoon near the Menchville Marina in Newport News have been found.
One body was found Tuesday evening and the other was located Wednesday morning. Both bodies have been taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Their identities are being withheld pending positive identification and notification of next of kin.
Newport News Police say the two men were fishing and then decided to go for a swim when they got caught in the current.
According to Virginia Marine Resources Commission, they received a call for assistance from the Newport News Police Department around 2:45 p.m.
The Coast Guard says they have dispatched a 25-foot Response Boat from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth. A Coast Guard maritime security response team was in the area and diverted to assist in the search.
Also involved in the search were boat crews from Newport News Fire Rescue, James City County Fire, Virginia Marine Resource Commission and Hampton Fire Department. A U.S. Navy helicopter crew from Chambers Field also diverted to assist.
Chief Rick Lauderman with Virginia Marine Police says the area they were in is especially dangerous for swimmers What makes it so treacherous, he says, is a combination of a ten foot drop-off and fast moving water in the channel.
“You can see it’s an hourglass shape where Deep Creek empties into the Warrick and into the James, it’s an actual funnel so when the water comes out, it will actually speed up there,” Chief Lauderman says.
The marine boats combed through the creek’s waters, using side scan sonar to pin-point the body’s location.
“It gives you a picture so when you actually locate a body, it will look almost like a mannequin lying on the bottom,” Lauderman says.