Body of final missing tuber found after Dan River tubing accident left 5 dead

Piedmont Triad News

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The body of the final missing tuber was found on Monday afternoon after a tubing accident on the Dan River last month left five people dead, according to a Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Around 4 p.m., while continuing recovery efforts for missing tuber Teresa Villano, Rockingham County Emergency Services workers and Swift Water Rescue Teams found and recovered Villano’s body from the Dan River near the Draper Boat Landing.

Villano’s next of kin have been notified. Five people have now been found dead, and four others were rescued.

On Wednesday, June 16, an Eden family went tubing with relatives visiting from La Porte, Indiana. The nine family members went tubing on the Dan River around 7:30 p.m., just before dark. At some point, the tubes went over a Duke Energy dam in Eden.

Four people were rescued initially, three of whom were teenagers.

Those rescued were three members of the Eden family—35-year-old Rueben Villano, 14-year-old Eric Villano and 18-year-old Irene Villano—as well as 14-year-old Karlos Villano, of La Porte, Indiana.

Four bodies were later recovered from the river. The bodies recovered were those of Eden family members 7-year-old Isiah Crawford, 27-year-old Bridish Crawford and 30-year-old Antonio Ramon, as well as 14-year-old Sophia Wilson, of La Porte, Indiana.

Isiah Crawford’s body was found on June 27 after someone called 911 around 10:02 a.m. and reported seeing a body in the water.

The tragedy is now sparking change in the community.  

“I’m glad to see it started a conversation in the community,” said Steven Pulliam, a Dan River keeper.  

Nearly one week after Duke Energy installed signs warning tubers and boaters of the dam, Pulliam plans to add more—this time in Spanish.  

“I think given the circumstances and the obvious need for additional signage,” it “could be beneficial,” Pulliam said.  

He said it’s a big step towards being more inclusive in Rockingham County. 

“It’s a little thing, but it’s something we can hopefully turn into more of a movement that we can see this across the state,” Pulliam said. 

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