Local News

Search discontinued for cars witnesses say drove off bridge

Posted July 10, 2020 5:57 p.m. EDT
Updated July 12, 2020 10:42 a.m. EDT

— After searching all day Friday without success for two cars that witnesses said plunged into the Cape Fear River Thursday night from an Interstate 95 bridge, authorities called off the search.

Nine dive teams were in and out of the river Friday. Search teams also launched a drone and organized a second ground search to look for vehicle parts and other evidence.

Vander Fire Chief Richard Bradshaw, who was one of the first people on the scene Thursday night, said he talked with a driver who stopped his car and dove into the water to help.

Investigators said a possible road rage incident led to an accident on I-95 at the bridge, near Exit 46 and N.C. Highway 87.

“They fell off the bridge and sunk down to the river,” a 911 caller said.

In the 911 call, the operator asked the caller if there were any people in the water.

The caller said, "No, no one has come up that we've seen."

The cars would have fallen about 75 feet to the water.

The Cape Fear River is murky, and the bottom has been changed by recent hurricanes.

"There's going to be a lot of debris packed in around these bridges, and they don't necessarily have to be wood. It could be a piece of metal or something like that. So we've got some [sonar] pings. They're really nothing I want to hone in right now," said Bradshaw.

The State Highway Patrol is asking anyone who might have seen the accident to contact Troop B Communications Center or the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

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