Body of seven-year-old found in river – days after tubing accident killed three of his relatives

The body of a seven-year-old has been found in a North Carolina river, almost four days after a tubing accident.

The boy – Isiah Crawford – was among a group of nine people who floated down the Dan River on inflatable tubes on Wednesday, and went over a dam.

His body is the fourth to be recovered and a member of the public reported seeing it near a boat landing in the town of Eden, about 35 miles north of Greensboro, on Sunday morning.

Rescue workers are seen near the Dan River on Friday
The group of nine, believed to be from the same family, were tubing in the river

The bodies of Bridish Crawford, 27, Antonio Ramon, 30, both from Eden, and Sophie Wilson, 14, from LaPorte, Indiana, were found on Thursday.

Four members of the group were also rescued on Thursday – Reuben Villano, 35, children Eric, 14, and Irene, 18, all from Eden, along with Karlos Villano of LaPorte, Indiana.

Rockingham County emergency services director Rodney Cates said the four survivors had managed to stay afloat for approximately 19 hours, and were “very, very fatigued” when they were found.

They were taken to hospital with injuries that are not thought to be life-threatening.

Authorities are still searching near the Virginia state line for the final member of the group, Teresa Villano, 35, from Eden.

Rescue workers carry a boat near the Dan River during the search for the two missing people
Three bodies and four survivors were found on Thursday

“Following the recovery this morning, two water craft are again searching the river from the dam back to the (boat landing) for the final victim,” the sheriff’s office said.

The tubers, believed to be from the same family, had floated over a dam which was about 2.5 metres high and next to an energy plant.

Boating experts told The News & Record that such low-head dams are known for trapping people in the powerful current that churns at their base.

Dan riverkeeper Steven Pulliam told the newspaper that recent rain might have created mud that obscured a portage area where boaters and tubers can exit and walk around the dam’s powerful currents.

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