According to the Sheriff’s Office in Rockingham County, three people were found in the Dan River in North Carolina on Thursday after a group went over a dam in an inner tube and drowned. Two members of the group remain missing.
They were among nine locals who tracked down to the river around noon on Wednesday, authorities said.
A Duke Energy employee told authorities on Thursday that four people were holding a single tube in the river and apparently needed help, according to Sam Page, the sheriff of Rockingham County.
“They’ve all been around all their lives,” Sheriff Page said.
The four tubers were rescued and taken to a hospital, he said.
Sheriff Page found a helicopter rescue crew on the three bodies in the river, adding that the search for the two missing tubers continues. By Friday morning, the search had expanded to Danville, Va.
Authorities did not want to divulge the names of the three people killed and the ages of the other tubers. Sheriff Page said his office was still investigating why the group was letting the river out like that.
“I have been working here as a sheriff for 23 years, but this is probably the largest number of victims,” he said. “I can not remember seeing so many numbers associated with drownings.”
According to the sheriff, there are signs on the river warning people of the approaching dam.
“This time of year, a lot of people are on the water,” Sheriff Page said. “You just have to be careful.”