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Two members of a group of nine subway riders involved in a fatal dam accident on the Dan River in North Carolina this week went missing after a search on Friday, authorities said.
The missing tubers were identified as Teresa Villano, 30) and Isiah Crawford, 7, both from Eden, North Carolina, WSET-TV reported from Lynchburg, Virginia.
“We want to find these people and make sure they are fine, but we also want to ask you to offer a prayer for the family,” Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page told reporters, according to Greensboro WFMY-TV, North Carolina.
“We want to find these people and make sure they are okay, but we also want to ask you to offer a prayer for the family.”
– Sheriff Sam Page, Rockingham County, NC
Three other tubers in the group were found dead Thursday night, while four tubers were rescued and hospitalized, the station reported.
The search was put on hold late Friday afternoon but should resume on Saturday, Rockingham County (NC) emergency services director Rodney Cates told The Associated Press.
NORTH CAROLINA BUMPING DEAD, OTHERS STILL MISSING AFTER DAN RIVER ACCIDENT, THE AUTHORITIES SAY
“We’re still positive and optimistic but we’ll see how it goes [Saturday]“Said Cates of the AP.
The deceased tubers were identified as Bridish Crawford, 27, and Antonio Ramon, 30, both from Eden, and Sophie Wilson, 14, from La Porte, Indiana, WSET reported.
The four tubers rescued were identified as Reuben Villano, 35 (a brother of the missing woman); Eric Villano, 14; and Irene Villano, 18, all from Eden, and Karlos Villano, 14, from La Porte, according to the station. All four had non-life-threatening injuries, the authorities informed the broadcaster.
Eden is located in northern North Carolina, not far from the Virginia state line.
Cates said the river is often difficult to navigate, even for experienced swimmers, and he doesn’t know if the tubers have used lifeguards, the AP reported. He said the entrance to the Duke Energy Dam is indicated by a sign and people who go tubing or rafting usually exit the river as they approach the dam and then walk a little before returning to the river.
All nine tubers were related and had visited other family members in the Eden area, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Bureau authorities said.
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The group went into the water at around 7pm on Wednesday and the four rescued tubers were discovered “in an emergency” by Duke Energy employees around 4pm on Thursday, prompting employees to call 911, authorities said.
The three deceased tubers were found later Thursday. They fell about eight feet after reaching the dam, Cates told the AP.
Page said investigators would continue to speak to the survivors to learn more details about what exactly happened, WFMY reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.