On May 19, 1997 at about 8:30 p.m. Richard Plumley, 42, was rowing two other men across the New River near Meadow Creek in preparation for a night of fishing. The current caught his flat-bottomed boat and pushed him into a set of mild rapids downstream. The boat broached on a rock, filled with water, then overturned. All three men clung to the boat for a time, then Mr. Plumley let go. He was not wearing a life vest, and was not seen alive again. The survivors floated to the opposite shore where they spent the night. The next day they made some oars out of tree limbs, worked back across the river, and notified authorities. The body was found six days later.
SOURCE: WV DNR Accident Summaries jacket.
ANALYSIS: (Walbridge) While the victim clearly underestimated the speed of the water, he probably would have survived if he had been wearing a life vest.