Search Continues for Missing Boater


UPDATE:   The identity of a boater, missing in the New River, is released.

Joe Bennett, 51, of Mabscott, disappeared Thursday afternoon when the boat he was fishing in capsized.

Crews suspended their search last night after spending several hours searching the water near the Grandview Sandbar campground.

The other man Bennett was fishing with was able to swim to shore safely.

Divers from the Beaver and Bradley prosperity Fire department Spent Thursday afternoon searching for a missing man at The New River Gorge National River. 

Park Rangers say the victim and another man were fishing when their boat capsized near the Grand View  Sandbar campground. One of them managed to swim to shore safely. After about three hours of searching divers found the men’s boat but no sign of the other other fisherman. 

 The New River Gorge National River Spokesperson, Jelena Campbell says both men did not have on life jackets and its unclear if the victim knows how to swim. She went to say that  a “hasty search” is the first step when responding to these types of situations.

“A hasty search is where we’re quickly getting people out both in the water  and on land in this case we had a national park service boat that we put in the water immediately,” Campbell said.

Afterward officials are then sent on foot  to comb the shorelines and then divers are dispatched.

“We sent people on both sides of the river to work their way up and down for a mile a more that’s the hasty part of the search. “We already had dive teams en route so we are very fortunate to have the Beaver Fire department search and rescue dive team here as well as divers from Summersville County and the Bradley Prosperity Fire Department so then we were able to put people in the water so boats on the water divers in the water,” Campbell said. 

The search was suspended at nightfall but will resume Friday morning. 

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