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Two men die after boat capsizes

Two men died and one man was rescued after their small boat capsized in the Rappahannock River near Tappahannock on Saturday about 10 a.m., reported Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) spokesman Lee Walker. All three men were from Ruther Glen in Caroline County.

According to law enforcement officials, three men in a 15-foot boat were anchored near Buoy 19 in Richmond County. The boat was anchored off the bow. There was an outgoing tide at the time and the wind was blowing upriver, causing rough seas. A wave crashed over the stern causing water to come into the boat. As the boat filled with water it capsized.

Eric Lamont Freeman, 53, stayed with the boat and was rescued.

Dive teams of the Virginia State Police and DGIF were involved in recovering the bodies of the two men who died, George Ellis Claiborne, 73, and Leonard Eugene Brookman, 58.

Walker said life jackets were onboard the boat but were not worn by the men.

A good Samaritan noticed the capsized vessel in the Rappahannock River from his home and got under way aboard his boat to assist. Once he arrived on scene, he was able to rescue Freeman from the water.

Once the good Samaritan and Freeman arrived back at shore, they called 911 to report the missing two men. Shortly afterwards, Freeman reportedly suffered a heart attack and was taken to a Richmond hospital and treated and released.

Sector Hampton Roads “watchstanders” issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched crews aboard two 25-foot response boats from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, diverted two Coast Guard Auxiliary boats and an aircraft and requested an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to search. A fire department boat crew from Lancaster County and divers with the Virginia Marine Police also assisted in the search.

Virginia Marine Police divers located the bodies of the missing men near the capsized boat at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

posted 05.22.2013

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