RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Police have identified the body of a man who went missing after his boat capsized at Falling Creek Reservoir on Thursday.
Rescue teams had to suspend their search late Thursday night as conditions became too dangerous. They resumed Friday morning and located the victim’s body shortly after noon. On Monday, police identified the victim as 81-year-old Fitcher W. Wilkins Sr. of Britannia Road in Richmond.
Officials tell 8News that two men were fishing when one of them stood up and caused the boat to capsize. One of them was able to make it back to shore, but the other — an elderly man — went missing.
Emergency crews from Richmond and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries assisted Chesterfield County in the search efforts, which began shortly after 3:30 p.m. The search quickly turned into a recovery mission.
Family and friends of the victim waited anxiously as crews searched the area.
“The waiting game is always the hardest thing for the family,” Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire & EMS explained. “We want to make sure that we do it rapidly, that we do it safely so that we can have some closure for the family.”
Many homes surround the reservoir, and neighbors in the area say the search and rescue caught them by surprise.
“It’s a very nice location and it’s nice quiet and secluded and we have wonderful neighbors,” resident Will Williams said.
Revving emergency trucks broke the neighborhood serenity as emergency crews from Richmond and Chesterfield teamed up to find a man who reportedly drowned in the body of water while fishing with a friend.
“We saw the fire truck drive up and that’s what came first and so people came out with emergency things and an ambulance came,” Williams said.
Search and rescue teams split up on different sides of the reservoir, focusing their attention on the side of the water near Grantlake Road and Cottrell Road.
Williams says the disturbance took him by surprise.
“There’s never been a boating accident that I’m aware of any way or heard about,” Williams said. “It’s the most excitement we’ve all had on Grantlake since the alligator was in the lake here a few years ago.”
Emergency crews say both of the men in the fishing boat were not wearing life jackets at the time.
Crews are withholding the identity of the missing man.