A body was found on the Rappahannock River on Saturday afternoon at Muddy Creek, near the King George County line, according to officials.
Stafford Sheriff’s Maj. Shawn Kimmitz said the report for assistance came in at 1:49 p.m. Kimmitz said the body was recovered by the Stafford County Sheriffs’ dive team and would be transported to the medical examiner.
Kimmitz had no further details on the incident as of early Saturday evening. The incident is under investigation.
Since 1985, more than 80 people have drowned in the Rappahannock, officials say. The river claimed the life of a Spotsylvania County man just days ago.
On Tuesday, search teams recovered the body of 40-year-old Brandon Childs, who went missing while kayaking Sunday near the Fredericksburg City Dock. Officials determined Childs was not wearing a personal flotation device at the time of his recovery and a PFD was not found in his recovered kayak.
After months of coronavirus-related restrictions and closures, the Rappahannock has been a popular destination this summer.
“It’s been a crazy year,” said Bill Micks, co-owner of Virginia Outdoor Center in Fredericksburg. “This river has been extremely crowded.”
Recent rains, however, have raised water levels, increasing already-present river dangers, local experts say. Based on data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gauges, Adam Lynch, a river steward with the Friends of the Rappahannock, said last week that water levels on the Rappahannock this weekend were expected to be about 3 feet, down from 7.5 feet on Tuesday.
Katie Caler, spokesperson for Stafford County Fire and Rescue, said that first responders from her agency have fielded nearly 30 emergency calls on the river since spring, resulting in 34 people being assisted or removed from the water.
Micks said Labor Day weekend has traditionally been his busiest weekend of the year, and he feared people would take to the river this holiday weekend without checking important river condition sources, such as the NOAA or waterdata.usgs.gov websites. Visual markers showing the height of the river are positioned on color-coded gauges at Kelly’s Ford, Ely’s Ford, Hunting Run, Mott’s Landing and at the popular river access point near Normandy Village.
James Scott Baron:
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