WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Officials have shifted their search and rescue mission for a missing boater in James City County to a recovery operation.
“We have lost confidence that any additional searching on the water is going to find him,” explained Captain of the Port Sector of Virginia, Samson Stevens.
Russel Hines, 34, went missing after his boat was found aground with the engine running in the James River Monday morning. It was discovered around Governor's Land near Two Rivers Road.
“It’s all still under investigation. It’s kind of, we are hoping to get more information from family members and friends to help us out but nothing to draw any conclusions,” said Col. Matt Rogers with Virginia Marine Police.
Authorities said Hines went missing Sunday night and that a kayaker found his boat the next morning. At the time the boat was located, it looked like it had been recently occupied, officials said.
Rogers said, “They (crews) are looking for anything that we can send diving teams down to inspect. Once that is concluded, our element and our resources will continue to do routine patrols on the river and searching in places where there is a likelihood to find a person.”
For the past two days, a multi-agency effort for this effort was underway. Search and rescue teams have scouted out 234 miles square miles to find Hines.
Virginia Marine Police are leading the recovery effort and the investigation into the boat being found aground with its engine running. Crews plan to spend the rest of the week conducting the recovery operation, as manpower and resources will allow.
Rogers said, “We want to say out here as long as possible to bring the family closure and hopefully recover him.”
The Coast Guard, James City County Fire and Police, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, West Point Volunteer Fire Department, Prince George's County Fire Department and Newport News Fire all assisted in the search.
“We grieve with Mr. Hines’s loved ones and offer them our deepest condolences,” says Cmdr. Jason Ingram, Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Virginia. “Thank you to all of our crew members and local partner agencies for your efforts. We are suspending this search with very heavy hearts. I ask that all boaters please use all available safety measures on the water including engine disabling switches, life jackets, locator beacons, and float plans.”