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Body recovered in James River search for missing triathlete

Posted at 11:58 AM, Jun 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 10:37:16-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Officials said the body of a swimmer who went missing during the Robious Landing Triathlon Sunday morning has been recovered from the James River.

"It was reported that an adult male in the upper James River was observed during the swimming obstacle and appeared to be in distress and went missing," Lt. L. C. Hummel with Henrico Police said.

The victim has been identified on social media, but WTVR CBS 6 is not reporting his name until it is released by police.

The victim is a 36-year-old man, Crime Insider sources told Jon Burkett, and is believed to have been in the first wave of swimmers, who started shortly after 6:50 a.m.

The event, formerly known as the "I Love the Tavern Tri," is held at Robious Landing Park in Chesterfield County along the James River.

The 650-meter swim is considered the best swim for a first time open water triathlete since swimmers go downstream with the current.

Robious Landing Triathlon Swim Course

Robious Landing Triathlon Swim Course

Mike Kanney said he heard the man’s cries for help.

“I heard, ‘Help,help,help,help,’” Kanney recalled. “A few moments later they started to check the numbers check the count.”

When a volunteer alerted police that he heard a man yelling for help, crews who were already on the scene quickly responded, officials said.

Multiple volunteers are stationed along the route on kayaks and paddle boards aid swimmers who may be in distress, according to event organizers.

Ian Stewart was saddened by the news and said the event was stopped minutes after it began.

“They blew the horn and then when we started to go the kayakers got in front of us and told us to stop,” Stewart said.

Kanney said moments later officials “started to check the numbers check the count.”

Officials said crews from Henrico Fire, Henrico Police, Chesterfield Fire, Chesterfield Police, as well as Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries responded and aided in the search.

Images by Dave Pearson depict the volunteers’ early efforts to locate the swimmer.

Officials warned any boaters on the upper James to "use caution" as officials investigated.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can submit a news tip here.

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