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Drowning Death at Canoe Creek State Park

A man died this weekend after going swimming in Canoe Creek State Park. The incident happened Sunday afternoon when 23-year-old “Chad Skinner” went swimming but never resurfaced prompting an Emergency Response. We spoke to Park Officials and First Responders on Monday for insight into the attempted rescue.

Sunday evening, Mooring Drive was blocked off with Emergency Crews trying to locate the missing man in the Lake below. Calls first came in shortly after 3pm on Sunday after Skinner went swimming in the Lake and was not seen coming up for air. Sadly, the Williamsburg Native would not be seen alive again, as Emergency Crews recovered his body about forty feet off the shore after unsuccessfully attempting to locate and rescue him.

Joe Basil, Park Manager at Canoe Creek State Park Complex saying: “It’s tragic, it’s a tragic death here at Canoe Creek but, it just is a reminder that, you know…please be careful, know your limitations and, be familiar with where you are and designated swimming areas, boating rules and regs, wearing your life jacket.”

Prior to finding his body, there was an extensive search and rescue effort from Emergency Personnel from multiple Counties. Geeseytown Community Fire Company was first to arrive, and Deputy Chief Paul Grobe described rescue effort to us, saying: “We’re called to the scene, we put 2 boats in the water with search personnel looking to try to find the individual. We also got dive teams; the Marklesburg team has a submersible camera that they can use to locate things underwater. They were unable to find anything. Once the dive teams got there, they got in the water and did a grid search in the area that he was last seen and within a few minutes, they were able to find him.”

Basil says even though water can be fun if treated with respect, things can go south if swimmers aren’t properly prepared. Basil saying: “Water is…very dangerous, that’s why we stress the fact of life jackets whenever you can and need them, knowing your limitations and, like I said, if you don’t know the water, it’s, it’s very tough.”

This particular incident will weigh heavily on the surrounding community, with Williamsburg only ten minutes from the Park. Basil adding: “It hits this community hard. It’s a small community coming out to Canoe Creek, and the town the victim is from is very close and they’re very much regular users of the park. So it’s, it’s tragic, it affects us all very emotionally and we’re sorry for the family’s loss, and I wish we could have done more.”

The Autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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