UPDATE | Friend of teen drowning victim says he tried to save him

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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 5/23/19 @ 10 p.m.
Thursday afternoon search crews found the body of a teenager who went missing in the Guyandotte River the night before.

The body of Nathan Skyles was found Thursday in the Guyandotte River near Barboursville, West Virginia.

16-year-old Cabell Midland freshman Nathan Skyles was found dead close to where he was last seen going under.

Kids who live along that stretch of the river say they hang out there often, but it's a spot they'll never look at the same way again.

Wayde Bartley says Skyles had just moved to the area last fall, and they became friends when they met at their school bus stop.

"I asked if he wanted to ride bikes, and he said yeah," Bartley said. "That's how it all started."

Wednesday night they were at the river swimming and fishing. Bartley says Skyles was swimming in the middle of the river when he started struggling.

"He was fighting right there trying to swim against the current," Bartley said.

Bartley says his friend screamed for help.

Bartley, who's in 7th grade, says he threw out his fishing line, and Skyles grabbed it, but the line broke.

Bartley says Skyles' older cousin tried to pull him to safety, but the current was too strong, and Skyles went under.

"I was saying 'Oh my God, I lost my best friend,'" Bartley said. "After about an hour I sat down and started crying knowing I'm not going to get him back."

Xavier Cooper had left his friends just a few minutes before the incident.

"At first I thought everybody was playing around messing with us," Cooper said. "It was like, no, this isn't a joke. I was just really shocked."

Bartley says he went to school Thursday but had to call a relative to take him home early, too overwhelmed by what he'd seen.

He says adults have been trying to comfort him, telling him it wasn't his fault.

Cabell County Schools spokesperson Jedd Flowers says they had grief counselors on hand Thursday at Cabell Midland, and they'll be back Friday.



UPDATE 5/23/19 @ 3:30 p.m.
Search crews have found the body of a teenager who went missing on the Guyandotte River Wednesday night.

Nathan Lee Skyles, 16, of Barboursville, was found dead Thursday afternoon in the area where he went missing. Investigators say the river is about eight to 10 feet deep in that spot.

Skyles was a freshman at Cabell Midland High School, according to Cabell County Schools spokesman Jedd Flowers. He said grief counselors have been at the school all day Thursday and will return Friday.

Rescue crews were first called to the Guyandotte River scene around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday after Skyles disappeared.

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle told WSAZ there were four people at the river at the time of the incident -- one adult and three minors. Investigators said the four were on a sandbar when Skyles went missing.

Dive teams searched the river Thursday afternoon along Colonial Court near the Esquire Golf Course in the Barboursville area. The sheriff confirmed Skyles' body had been found around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

"It’s tough," the sheriff said. "It’s an emotional day, hard day for the family, for the first responders. You see more of this all the time, and it really hurts when it’s a young person. Going out on a pretty day like today and having fun and something bad happens."

Flowers said school officials' thoughts and prayers are with Skyles' family and friends, as well as with the first responders who helped recover his body.



UPDATE 5/23/19 @ 12:11 p.m.
The sheriff has identified the teenage boy who was last seen on the Guyandotte River Wednesday night.

Rescue crews are searching for Nathan Lee Skyles, 16, of Barboursville.

Dive teams are searching the river Thursday afternoon along Colonial Court near the Esquire Golf Course in the Barboursville area.

Crews were called to the scene around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle told WSAZ there were four people at the river at the time of the incident -- one adult and three minors. Investigators said the four were on a sandbar when Skyles disappeared.

Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry said crews stopped looking at 10 p.m. Wednesday due to darkness. They resumed searching Thursday morning.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

UPDATE 5/23/19 @ 9:15 a.m.
The search resumed Thursday morning for a teenage boy who was last seen in the Guyandotte River on Wednesday night.

Dive teams are searching the river along Colonial Court near the Esquire Golf Course in the Barboursville area.

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle told WSAZ there were four people at the river at the time of the incident -- one adult and three minors. Investigators said the four were on a sandbar when one of them disappeared.

"Well it's a young boy and everyone is tore up in the neighborhood," Zerkle said. "I used to live in this neighborhood and that's always been a favorite place for young kids to hang out."

The sheriff says they had crews in boats and kayaks.

Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry said crews stopped looking at 10 p.m. Wednesday due to darkness.

Along with EMS, crews from the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department, West Virginia State Police and the Cabell County Sheriff's Department were on the scene.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.


UPDATE 5/22/19 @ 9:15 p.m.
Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle says Wednesday night that crews are looking for someone in the Guyandotte River.

It is going on along Colonial Court near the Esquire Golf Course. That is in the Barboursville area.

Zerkle said there were four people at the river at the time of the incident -- one adult and three minors. Investigators say the four were on a sandbar when one disappeared.

The sheriff says they have crews in boats and kayaks.

Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry said crews are going to stop looking at 10 p.m. Wednesday due to darkness and resume at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Along with EMS, crews from the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department, West Virginia State Police and the Cabell County Sheriff's Department are on the scene.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/22/19
The Barboursville Fire Chief says crews are on the scene of a water incident Wednesday evening in the Guyandotte River near the Esquire Golf Course in Cabell County.

Crews were called to the scene around 7:30 p.m. along Colonial Court.

No other information is available at this time.

WSAZ has a crew at the scene.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.


Family members show WSAZ the location of where a teenage boy went missing in the Guyandotte River Wednesday night.
Crews on the scene of a water incident along Colonial Court near the Esquire Golf Course in Cabell County, West Virginia.
The body of Nathan Skyles was found Thursday in the Guyandotte River near Barboursville, West Virginia.