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Search efforts resume for person swept away by Roanoke River

Crews say high-water levels created difficult conditions for visibility

The search for a missing man enters day 4.
The search for a missing man enters day 4.

ROANOKE Va.UPDATE - 2:24 p.m. Dec. 09, 2020

Crews are again out searching for the person swept away this past weekend.

The search continued Wednesday after being halted Monday due to conditions.

UPDATE - 3:16 p.m. Dec. 07, 2020

Authorities have now paused the land portion of the search for a person carried away by the waters of the Roanoke River this weekend.

After assessing wind speed for Tuesday it will affect some of the resources crews had hoped to use during the ground search, such as a drone, according to Roanoke Fire-EMS.

Authorities also said that they’d like to see the water levels go down a bit more, providing more visibility to the banks of the river for a more thorough search.

UPDATE - 10:04 a.m. Dec. 07, 2020

A person swept away by the Roanoke River over the weekend is still missing, but authorities say the search will continue along the shore and not on the water.

Water levels on the Roanoke River created difficult conditions for visibility, according to Roanoke Fire-EMS. Due to continued high water levels, crews have suspended water-based search operations until conditions can be re-evaluated Wednesday morning.

Authorities say that in the meantime, Roanoke’s Office of Emergency Management is working with the Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management to get state resources to continue search efforts along the shore.

UPDATE - 5:28 p.m. Dec. 06, 2020

A person carried away by the waters of the Roanoke River during the weekend remains missing.

Roanoke Fire and Emergency Medical Services’ swift water rescue team searched the river between Smith Park and Carilion Clinic Sunday morning. The person was swept from the low-water bridge between Smith Park and Franklin Road at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday night.

“Our personnel who are on the swift water team train frequently. They train during night operations and day operations,” said Kristen Perdue of Roanoke Fire-EMS. “A lot of times in our past when we’ve dealt with this, it doesn’t always have a positive outcome, but we can always hope for one.”

The department called off the search Sunday afternoon because the debris from the river’s high water level made it impossible for crews to see through the water.

Randy Scaggs claimed to have seen the person fall into the water; he said it is a friend of his named Eddie.

“I said, ‘Eddie, get the hell out of the damn water,’ Scaggs recounted. “He said, ‘I’m trying to make it across.’ Next thing you know, he staggered to the side and was gone.”

Roanoke Fire-EMS confirmed they talked with Scaggs to find out more about the incident.

Roanoke police officers also assisted in the search.


Crews in Roanoke are working to locate a person after they fell into the Roanoke River just after 6:00 Saturday night.

An emergency call placed said a person saw someone wading through water and was then swept away.

As of 8:00 p.m. the search was focused in along the areas near Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Several agencies from across the area including Roanoke City, Salem and Roanoke County worked into the evening to try and locate the missing person.

Crews are using both a drone and boats to try and locate the person swept away by the water.