RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A day spent enjoying the outdoors quickly turned into a nightmare Monday afternoon after people enjoying Memorial Day activities on the James River ended up needing to be rescued when they went over a Richmond dam.
According to the Richmond Fire Department, a group of 12 people went over Bosher’s Dam just after 3 p.m. Monday afternoon. It is confirmed that while most of the people were rescued, two women are still missing.
Bosher’s Dam has a recorded drop of 12-feet.
In a press conference Monday night, the Richmond Fire Department said – with the assistance of civilian kayakers – nine victims were rescued, the first victim self rescued. Two female victims remain unaccounted for.
“After a very thorough search today, this evening, we ceased operations this evening because of nightfall. We will start our search efforts tomorrow morning, first thing in the morning,” the fire department said, adding that rescue efforts would resume at 7 a.m.
Richmond Fire said the rescue operation has not changed the classification to a recovery operation, signaling hope that the two females are still alive.
The group was believed to have been using flotation devices on the river, as an 8News drone recorded footage of several inflatables tied up in the dam.
A Richmond Police Department air unit was seen at one of the established scenes, the 9000 block of Cherokee Road. Emergency crews searched for the missing females into the nighttime hours, at which point Richmond Fire said the search would be continued at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Emergency rescue crews were also photographed by the river on Belle Isle – a parcel of land surrounded by water several miles downriver from Bosher’s Dam – where a second water rescue was taking place.
During the same time as the Bosher’s Dam incident, a man was caught on video rescuing a man and a woman just a few miles downstream from the dam. The couple had been floating down the river on a shared intertube when the tube flipped and the woman became caught on a fallen tree in the water.
The video shows just how perilous the conditions of the river were on Monday when it was recorded at a high river level of 9-feet.