GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (WSAZ/WVVA) -- UPDATE 7/5/19 @ 1:22 p.m.
The body of a missing teenager has been recovered.
Investigators confirmed to WVVA the 16-year-old swimmer's body was found around noon Friday.
The teenager went missing in the New River Gorge River just before 7 a.m. Friday. Park rangers, trained search and rescue divers, and members of several volunteer fire departments searched for the boy all morning. His body was ultimately discovered about 200 yards downstream from where he was last seen.
According to a spokesperson for the National Park Service, investigators believe the teen got caught in a swift-moving current. Crews found his body 14 feet beneath the river's surface.
He was not wearing a life jacket, according to NPS officials.
“I’d like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this young man and our thoughts will remain with them as they work through their grief," said New River Gorge National River Superintendent Lizzie Watts. "I also want to extend our appreciation for the swift response of the many local volunteer fire departments and others that came to our aid during a holiday weekend."
The National Park Service temporarily closed the McCreery Boat Launch/River Access near Prince. It is now back open.
"Tragic events such as these remind us all, local residents and park visitors alike, that the New River is a high-volume river with swift currents, deep holes, and a rocky bottom," NPS Spokesperson Julena Campbell stated in a press release. "Water levels can change daily and conditions in even familiar areas can change quickly. Personal flotation devices (PFDs), or life jackets, are essential safety items and should be worn anytime people are in or around the water, including in a boat. Most drownings in the New River involve people who didn’t plan on being in the water. Even experienced river users can become disoriented or incapacitated during an accident on the river. For more tips on water safety while in the park, visit www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/water-safety.htm."
ORIGINAL STORY 7/5/19
Crews are searching for a missing swimmer in the New River Gorge River.
A 16-year-old boy is missing after being swept downstream just before 7 Friday morning.
The National Park Service has closed the McCreery Boat Launch/River Access near Prince.
"All commercial and private boaters should seek other access points today," park officials wrote on Facebook Friday. "Please remember to wear your life jacket if you are out recreating in the river or other waterways."
Multiple agencies are assisting the National Park Service in the search.