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Blacksburg man drowns in New River

FAIRLAWN — A Blacksburg man drowned late Saturday when he fell from a boat while fishing on the New River near The River Course golf course at Fairlawn.
Rolland Cox, a conservation officer with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said 67-year-old Clayton Bartlett was last seen about 8 p.m. Saturday.
According to Cox, Bartlett and a nephew had floated in an aluminum boat from the area of the Dedmon Center at Radford University to Route 114 when they anchored the boat near the third tee of the golf course.
He said Bartlett fell overboard and then made it back to the front of the boat. However, when Bartlett attempted to get back into the boat, the boat “swamped,” and the man’s tackle box floated away.
Cox said the nephew last saw Bartlett as he was floating down the river holding onto the tackle box. He indicated the current was too strong for Bartlett to get back to the boat at that point.
He said the tackle box would not have supported Bartlett.
Attempts to locate the missing man Saturday night had to be suspended when darkness set in.
The search resumed early Sunday morning, and Bartlett’s body was found about 70 yards downstream from the area he was last seen, according to Cox. He said the body was lying on a submerged rock, about 68 inches below the surface of the river.
Bartlett was found about 15 minutes after the search was resumed Sunday.
Although Bartlett had once been a good swimmer, the officer said Parkinson’s disease had degraded Bartlett’s swimming abilities.
Cox said Bartlett may have survived the accident had he been wearing a lifejacket.
Lifejackets are not required to be worn while boating, but Cox said it is always a good idea to wear one when on the water.
This was the second drowning on the New River in Pulaski County this year.
A third drowning occurred on Claytor Lake earlier in the season.

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Blacksburg man drowns in New River

FAIRLAWN — A Blacksburg man drowned late Saturday when he fell from a boat while fishing on the New River near The River Course golf course at Fairlawn.
Rolland Cox, a conservation officer with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said 67-year-old Clayton Bartlett was last seen about 8 p.m. Saturday.
According to Cox, Bartlett and a nephew had floated in an aluminum boat from the area of the Dedmon Center at Radford University to Route 114 when they anchored the boat near the third tee of the golf course.
He said Bartlett fell overboard and then made it back to the front of the boat. However, when Bartlett attempted to get back into the boat, the boat “swamped,” and the man’s tackle box floated away.
Cox said the nephew last saw Bartlett as he was floating down the river holding onto the tackle box. He indicated the current was too strong for Bartlett to get back to the boat at that point.
He said the tackle box would not have supported Bartlett.
Attempts to locate the missing man Saturday night had to be suspended when darkness set in.
The search resumed early Sunday morning, and Bartlett’s body was found about 70 yards downstream from the area he was last seen, according to Cox. He said the body was lying on a submerged rock, about 68 inches below the surface of the river.
Bartlett was found about 15 minutes after the search was resumed Sunday.
Although Bartlett had once been a good swimmer, the officer said Parkinson’s disease had degraded Bartlett’s swimming abilities.
Cox said Bartlett may have survived the accident had he been wearing a lifejacket.
Lifejackets are not required to be worn while boating, but Cox said it is always a good idea to wear one when on the water.
This was the second drowning on the New River in Pulaski County this year.
A third drowning occurred on Claytor Lake earlier in the season.

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