Accident Database

Report ID# 115058

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description


Missing New River kayaker found dead

By Eddie Callahan and Janay Reece

Published  Jul. 3, 2021

(WDBJ) - UPDATE: The man was identified as Charles Wallace, 56 of Dublin, the VDWR added.

UPDATE: The missing New River kayaker was found dead by divers underwater on Sunday.

According to the Virginia Conservation Police, the body was found approximately 150 yards from where the man was reported missing.  A kayak was found submerged on Saturday. The kayaker brought a life jacket but was not wearing it at the time.

Conservation Police say the Arsenal Falls location is one of the most dangerous spots on the river and was the site of incidents in the past.

UPDATE: A new command post was established at the Whitethorne Boating Ramp, along with dogs now aiding in the search.  Water levels are down and allow for dive teams to commence their efforts. Added aid from the Virginia Department of Wildlife is on-scene to help with the search.

Emergency responders say the area near the Radford Army Ammunition Plant should be avoided. A Montgomery County Mobile Command Unit is stationed at the boat ramp under the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge.

“They were fishing behind the group, located near the Arsenal Falls, approximately a mile downstream from the Peppers Ferry Boat Landing,” said Sgt. John Koloda, a conservation police officer with the Virginia Department of Conservation. Search boats and searchers were utilized.

“We’ve used lots of different methods, trying to locate this individual, from Virginia State Police had their helicopter out here, we’ve been using sonar different tactics, trying to, trying to find this subject,” said Sgt. Koloda.

Virginia Wildlife Resources says a group of kayakers was out on a float and lost a friend who was fishing behind them as they floated down the river. The wife of the man called 911.

Crews were alerted around 10:30 a.m. that the kayaker was missing.

“As the sun goes down, it becomes a little trickier for us to remain out on the water,” said Sgt. Koloda. As a safety precaution, the rescue team paused search efforts overnight, with plans to continue Sunday morning.

Emergency crews say if you do plan to kayak in the river there are a few things to keep in mind. “Life jackets are the best thing for as far as the safety tip for kayaking on the river, or any kind of activity on the river,” said Tyler Hall, the interim Montgomery County emergency management coordinator.

“If you see anything out of the ordinary or suspicious or if you’re floating the river and you see somebody, then please call the sheriff’s office, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, and let us know,” said Sgt. Koloda.

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