LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The bodies of a woman and girl were pulled from the Ohio River at separate locations Tuesday, three days after a pontoon boat capsized miles upstream, killing at least three and leaving two more missing.
Authorities were waiting for the coroner to confirm whether the bodies found belonged to the missing boaters.
“Maybe this can bring us some closure,” said Colby Caldwell, whose sister, Joyce Wright, was among the missing.
Dozens of relatives have gathered at the waterfront for days as rescuers scoured the river for signs of Wright; her boyfriend, Danal Swinney, 37; and his 10-year-old daughter, Dasia, whom the family called “We-We.”
Nine people, five of them children, were aboard the pontoon boat Saturday night to watch fireworks over the river. The rushing current slammed the boat into a barge.
Three of the children managed to grab onto the barge and hoist themselves to safety, then pull an adult from the wreckage. The boat capsized. Five people — two men, a woman and two children — did not make it out of the water.
Donald Swinney, 52, was pulled from the river Saturday night and taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. His nephew, 14-year-old Mark Swinney Jr., died at the scene.
Efforts to find the missing three were hindered by the treacherous river conditions. The current is swift and the water is clogged with debris and fallen trees. Rescuer teams are unable to send divers underwater, so must rely on sonar and sight.
The body of Danal Swinney was found late Monday, two days after the crash, Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Jack Arnold confirmed.
An adult woman was found Tuesday morning in the river west of downtown, said Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley. Though the coroner has not yet confirmed her identity, Caldwell said he believes it is his sister. His family was gathering to mourn together, he said.
“Thank God we got the body finally out of the water and we can give her a proper burial,” said her cousin, Latosha Wright. “Her loss, it took a piece of a lot of people’s hearts.”
The child’s body was discovered farther down the river about six hours later, Smiley said.
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