Body of final missing tuber found after deadly North Carolina dam accident

Published 12:06 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The body of the last person missing from a North Carolina river accident that killed five people has been found, weeks after a family rode inflatable tubes over a relatively small but dangerous Duke Energy dam.

The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office confirmed late Monday that searchers recovered the body of Teresa Villano, 35, in the Dan River near the Draper Boat Landing.

She was among a group of nine relatives from Eden and LaPorte, Indiana, who were floating down the river on June 16 when they went over the dam, which is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) high. A Duke Energy employee spotted survivors the next afternoon and called 911.

Crews rescued Rueben Villano, 35, and his children Irene, 18; and Eric, 14, along with his nephew Karlos Villano, 14, according to the sheriff’s office. All four were treated at a local hospital for their injuries.

That same day, rescuers found the bodies of Rueben Villano’s partner Bridish Crawford, 27; and Teresa’s partner Antonio Ramon, 30, along with Teresa’s niece, Sophie Wilson, 14, the sheriff’s office said. The body of Bridish Crawford’s son Isiah, 7, was found days later. Teresa was Rueben’s twin sister and their mother told The Washington Post that Teresa was pregnant when she went missing in the water.

Boating experts told The News & Record that such low-head dams are notorious for trapping people in the powerful current that churns at their base.

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