Families are grieving on Virginia’s Eastern Shore after a jon boat capsized in rough seas, sending four young men into the water Saturday morning. An 18-year-old died in the water and a 17-year-old is still missing, with a large-scale search underway.
Virginia Marine Police say four people went out duck hunting Saturday morning amid a winter storm. They were in Chincoteague Bay, near Curtis Merritt Harbor, when the 16-foot jon boat was struck by a wave and it took on water, causing it to capsize. All four went into the water. Two of them, ages 17 and 19, stayed with the boat and were rescued by a good Samaritan. They were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The Coast Guard recovered the body of the 18-year-old, Cory Alles of Bentonville, Va. Crews launched a search for the still-missing 17-year-old male, who is not being identified by police due to his age. Browntown Baptist Church, near Bentonville, says the young man is Nathan Jenkins. They held a candlelight vigil for Jenkins and Alles Tuesday night.
According to police, the weekend winter storm that hit Virginia and the Eastern Shore caused “unfavorable weather conditions for boating,” with wind gusts from 12-15 miles per hour. The air temperature was in the low 20s and the water was in the low 40s.
Virginia Marine Police say the search for the missing teen has continued through the week, by both sea and air. Along with police, the Virginia Port Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Beach Police, Virginia Beach Fire Department, Chesapeake Police, Chincoteague Police and the Accomack Sheriff’s Office have all been helping in the search.
Virginia Marine Police Chief Matthew Rogers says, “Authorities remain committed to bringing closure to the victims’ family… the Virginia Marine Police and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission offers its deepest condolences to
the families during this time.”
Bay Bulletin will update this story with any new information from the search.
-Meg Walburn Viviano