Accident Database

Report ID# 3134

  • Swim into Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

1.5 miles below Glen Wilton was the site of a fatality on 6-16-09 involving a strainer. The strainer was / is blocking the main flow channel around a very small island. Victim was not wearing a lifejacket and was fishing from a single person inflatable raft. Always keep your eyes peeled for strainers. News article is pasted below.

Man drowns while rafting on James River

By Neil Harvey and Amanda Codispoti

The Roanoke Times

A man drowned Tuesday afternoon on the James River in Botetourt County after his raft was washed into the branches of a downed tree, officials said. Simon Knopp, 76, of Staunton was rafting with two friends about 1 p.m. when the incident occurred, according to Shannon Smith, a conservation police officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Botetourt County Sheriff Maj. Delbert Dudding said they were about a mile and a half south of the Glen Wilton boat landing. "He and two other companions were each in individual rafts when he [Knopp] became entangled in a tree that was down in the river, in a fairly swift part of the river," Smith said. "They tried to free him but couldn't ... and he eventually weakened to the point he couldn't keep his head above water."

Knopp was not wearing a life jacket at the time, Smith said. Smith said that the two friends, who are both from Charlottesville, were not injured. Although Smith said the river is up because of high amounts of rain, it's not at flood stage. "It just stands to reason with the increased flow, particularly in that one spot where the river gets narrow, that could cause additional hazards," he said. The victim's body has been taken to the medical examiner's office in Roanoke for an autopsy.

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