A Dangerous Day on The James River
Amherst Co., VA - Monday was a deadly day on the James River. A 69-year-old woman was tubing, when she went underwater and did not come back up.
No indication yet of the exact cause of the probable drowning. Hope Stoeckel was on the river with her husband and her grandchildren, when something went terribly wrong.
It was a sunny summer day turned deadly on the James.
It started as a family outing; tubing with the James River Float Company. But somehow, first responders say, along the way, a 69-year-old grandmother went under the water and didn't come back up.
When officials arrived at a landing near Percival's Island, they say a guide with the float company had pulled the woman from the water, and was performing CPR.
But it was too late.
This was the company's first drowning ever. In a statement, they told ABC 13 News, water in the river was at a normal spring level and that all members of the group were wearing personal flotation devices.
Just hours later, another distressed person was pulled from the banks of the James. This time, it was an experienced kayaker.
"There are a lot of obstacles in the water right now" said Jason Campbell, a Lynchburg Battalion Chief. Campbell responded to both incidents.
"Water levels are up and the currents are up, and when the water levels are up, the water currents are also up. From the embankment in some cases, it doesn't necessarily look like the river may be up as high as some people think" said Campbell.
A current can you pull you in and pull you under, in an instant.
"It's still very early on in the summer. Just please be careful when you're on the river, be prepared, and have an emergency plan" said Campbell.
The guide from the James River Float Company performed CPR pm the drowning victim until first responders arrived.
An autopsy will determine if any other medical condition may have caused the woman to lose consciousness and fall into the water.