BELPRE - Authorities searched the Ohio River for several hours Saturday afternoon before finding the body of a 15-year-old McArthur boy who went missing in the river near Blennerhassett Island Historic State Park.
The body of the boy was found by divers about 7:20 p.m. Saturday in the Ohio River just off the island where they had been looking for much of the afternoon, said Lt. Stan Hickman with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The boy's identity was not being released Saturday or Sunday, Hickman said. The body was taken to the Wood County coroner for a determination of whether to send it to the state medical examiner's office in Charleston, W.Va., as part of the ongoing investigation, he said.
Due to the location on the Ohio River where the boy went missing, units from West Virginia and Ohio conducted the search from Civitan Park in Belpre throughout the afternoon, with Blennerhassett Volunteer Fire Chief Chris Sams heading the search.
Sams said emergency and law enforcement personnel from Wood and Washington counties were called out about 12:45 p.m. Saturday for a report of a 15-year-old boy who was believed to be missing on the Ohio River off the island's shore about a quarter-mile from its northern tip or missing on the island itself.
About 11 emergency departments from both counties provided personnel for land searches and boats and personnel for water searches, including divers in the Ohio River, Sams said. DuPont Washington Works provided ice and other supplies to help with the search operation, he said. Blennerhassett Island remained open for visitors. Staff members were assisting emergency workers, officials said.
Hickman said the boy's family was camping on Blennerhassett Island Saturday and he was last seen swimming with his brother about 20 yards from shore.