Local News

Man rescued on Neuse River after boat flips, drifts 30 miles downstream

Posted April 30

— Smithfield police rescued a boater early Sunday morning who spent several hours on the Neuse River after his boat flipped and he drifted 30 miles downstream.

The man, who was not identified, was reported missing around 10 p.m. Friday by his wife. The man's wife told police the he was supposed to return before dark, but he didn't come back.

His truck and trailer were found near the Front Street boat ramp in Smithfield.

Smithfield police began driving their boat up and down the river but couldn't find the missing man. Other law enforcement agencies and civilians with boats joined to search, too.

Around 3 a.m., the Wayne County Sheriff's Office sent a helicopter up and found the man drifting in his small boat near the flooded Richardson Bridge Road boat ramp.

After being rescued, the man said he tried to anchor the boat to fish but the boat tipped and began taking on water. The vessel eventually flipped, spilling the man and washing his cell phone away.

"And when [the current] grabbed again, the boat kind of dipped down and started taking on water, so when it flipped over, it started taking on water. I got back over and I just kind of went on from there," he said.

The man said he was able to get the boat upright again, and he used a stick to navigate down the river to where he was eventually found.

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