How a fatal fishing trip brought a Virginia community together

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-21 17:25:53-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. — A group of people in Colonial Heights made selfless and split-second decisions in an effort to save the life of a stranger fishing on the Appomattox River. Ultimately the man did not survive.

“Of course you want the outcome to be positive but I know that there was nothing else we could do that day," Colonial Heights Animal Control Supervisor Amanda Richards said about the July 13 incident. "We made every effort possible."

Richards was working at the animal shelter near the Appomattox Greenway Trail in Colonial Heights when she got a call that someone had fallen into the river and people were performing CPR in an effort to save him.

“Sounds like there was a lot of commotion, lots of screaming, help me, so at that point and time I just kinda took off running," Richards said.

When she made it to the river, the man was on a boat out in the water.

"I ended up seeing three male parties on a boat, one was unresponsive and two were actively giving CPR," she said.

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Richards then jumped into the water to help push the boat back to land.

“The best option I could do, was to attempt to get the boat as close to land as possible, so we can get him off the boat," she said.

Soon, other first responders, like Master Police Officer Micaulay Fable, started to arrive.

“I grabbed his left arm to help hoist him onto the flat ground so we could start CPR," Fable said. “It’s humbling to see a community collaborating to try and save a man’s life."

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Unfortunately, the man did not survive.

“It’s a little difficult, given the outcome," Richards said.

“Ultimately, people who didn’t wake up that morning thinking they were going to help someone when the moment came, they took the initiative and attempted to help," Fable said.

Both Richards and Fable said the true heroes here were the women who called 911 and the men on the boat who started CPR in an attempt to save a stranger's life.

"It’s tough when you tried your best to save someone and unfortunately you weren’t successful," Fable said.

The deceased man's name has not yet been released and neither has his cause of death.

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