Accident Database

Report ID# 116074

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description


2 missing in Virginia after group went over James River dam

By Associated Press

May 31, 2022 at 11:11 a.m. EDT

RICHMOND, Va. — Authorities in Virginia identified two women missing Tuesday after a group of people in rafts and on paddleboards went over the Bosher Dam on the James River a day earlier.

WWBT-TV reported that 12 people were involved in the accident Monday afternoon. WAVY-TV reported the dam has a 12-foot (3.6-meter) drop, and that water levels have been high. Images of the search show the river seemingly placid above the dam, but roiling below, with some of the group’s paddleboards and inflatable rafts caught in the currents below the rush of water.

One of them managed to reach a nearby house for help. Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Segal said kayakers in the area helped rescue nine more. But Segal said two women were unaccounted for despite a very thorough search.

Crews searched for the two women until dusk and the search resumed Tuesday morning, Henrico County police said in a news release. Police said they have worked with friends and families of Lauren E. Winstead, 23, of Henrico County and Sarah E. Erway, 28, of Chesterfield County, listing them as missing.

Police warned that the river is at dangerous levels in some areas and anyone entering the river should be extremely cautious.

Local resident Finn Gardner told WWBT that someone banged on their window saying their group went over the dam.

“So, we ran out there, and we were trying to help get people out of the water and make sure that everyone was accounted for ... Unfortunately, we couldn’t find two of them,” Gardner said. “I’m hoping that they’re in someone’s house somewhere trying to find a way to contact their group. You got to hope for the best.”



Two women missing after group of 12 goes over Bosher’s Dam on James River in Richmond

by: Kassidy Hammond ABC Channel 8, Richmond, VA

Posted: May 30, 2022

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.

‘I thought I was going to drown’: Richmond couple rescued from James River after tube capsizes

“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.


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