Body of Pregnant Woman, the Fifth and Final Victim of North Carolina Tubing Accident, Recovered
Rockingham County Emergency Services personnel and Swift Water Rescue Teams located and recovered Teresa Villano from the Dan River near the Draper Boat Landing on Monday
The body of Teresa Villano, 35, was located near the Draper Boat Landing around 4 p.m. by Rockingham County Emergency Services personnel and Swift Water Rescue Teams, the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office said in a release.
She was 24-weeks pregnant, her brother-in-law Shane Young told ABC-7.
Teresa is the fifth person to be confirmed dead after the incident, which took place back on June 18 when a group of nine people who were all related took a set of connected inflatable tubes out to float down the river — a "popular pastime" in the county, according to officials.
Around nightfall, the group went over a dam on the river near the Duke Energy Power Plant, officials said. A Duke employee called police the next day around 3:30 p.m. after spotting something in the water.
First responders were able to rescue four people who were "clinging to the dam in the river": Rueben Villano, 35, his son Eric, 14, and daughter Irene, 18, and 14-year-old Karlos Villano.
Bridish Crawford, Isiah's 27-year-old mother, was found dead later that day, as were Antonio Roman, 30, and Sophie Wilson, 14.
Bridish's son, 7-year-old Isiah Crawford, was found dead in the river four days later.
Teresa is Rueben twin sister and Sophie Wilson's aunt. Roman was expecting his fourth child with Teresa.
"They were going to have a gender reveal," Young told ABC-7. "They had a cake ordered at Walmart."
Rockingham County Emergency Services Director Rodney Cates, who led the rescue efforts and was there when Teresa's body was recovered, previously said in a press release that numerous rescue boats were deployed to search the river.
Helicopters from the North Carolina Highway Patrol and AirLife out of Virginia also aided in the search, as did rescue teams from neighboring Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
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The Greensboro News & Record reported that the dam's drop-off causes a strong current at its base that makes it near impossible for a tube or raft to go over it without flipping.
Cates has said that when the survivors were found, they were very fatigued and had been "subjected to the elements for 19 hours." He also noted that none were wearing life vests.
"The biggest thing to remember is always wear a life jacket. They not only help you float, but give you protection against obstacles," he said. "If you're new to the river, I'd recommend a life jacket and a helmet. As for bad accidents, this is the worst in my memory.''