HARPERS FERRY – A 30-year-old man who fell into the Shenandoah River during a holiday gathering Thursday has been identified as Josue Menendez, of Winchester, Va., according to Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty.
Dougherty said the man fell into the water at the Shannondale Springs boat launch and was unable to return to shore on his own.
“The gentleman either could not swim or could not swim very well,” Dougherty said. “Apparently he was walking backwards while talking to somebody who was on shore. He must have gone off and gotten into a deep pool.”
Dougherty said the man likely drowned before anyone had a chance to assist him.
“The best we can figure at this point is that he swallowed water when he first went in,” Dougherty said. “He popped up to the surface once and then was not seen again.”
Emergency searchers pulled the man from the river at about 3:15 p.m. Friday following two days of searching.
According to the sheriff’s department, alcohol is not believed to be factor in the incident.
Rescuers from four states were involved in the search effort.