One waterman found dead and tangled in gill net, boat sunk another waterman missing in the Swash Channel near Guinea Marsh

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Virginia Marine Police

One waterman found dead and tangled in gill net, boat sunk another waterman missing in the Swash Channel near Guinea Marsh

Virginia Marine Police

UPDATE: On April 2, 2017, The Virginia Marine Police reports they have a patrol boat equipped with side-scan sonar out in the channel and marsh looking for the body of the missing waterman. Additionally, the Marine Police airplane is being used to search for Tony West.

(Newport News, VA.) — The Virginia Marine Police reports that they have recovered the body of a commercial waterman, Philip Brown, 47, of Guinea, Virginia, and are searching for a second, Tony West, 31, also of Guinea.

The Virginia Marine Police were called at 11:15 a.m. on April 1, 2017, by a concerned family member who said the two watermen had not returned home Friday evening. The watermen had been working a gill net in the Swash Channel near the Guinea Marshes in Gloucester, Virginia.

The Marine Police dispatched two patrol boats and the Marine Police airplane to search the area. At approximately 1:00 p.m., almost two hours after the initial notification, the pilot spotted a sunken vessel in the Swash Channel and directed Marine Police vessels to it. Mr. Brown’s body was found tangled in a nearby gill net. The Marine Police and other law enforcement agencies will continue to search for Mr. West until dark and will resume the search tomorrow if necessary.

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The Abington Fire and Rescue Team, York County Sheriff, York County Fire and Rescue, York County Dive team, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Marine Police Dive Team assisted in the search and recovery.

“This is a terrible tragedy,” said John M.R. Bull, Virginia Marine Resources Commissioner.  “We honor and respect all watermen, who work hard in often harsh conditions to put genuine Virginia seafood on the dinner table. Our hearts go out to their families in these difficult circumstances.”

Mr. Brown’s body has been taken to Norfolk, Va., to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

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