Emergency personnel searched Fishing Creek along Harlan Drive near the train bridge in New Martinsville Monday afternoon for a possible drowning victim, but none was ever found.
According to New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch, crews were summoned to the area by two adults who were driving through the area and thought they had seen the hands of a possible drowning victim, just above the surface of the water, waving for help. The passersby turned their vehicle around and went back to the area and what they had seen was no longer there.
New Martinsville fire crews were summoned to the scene at 12:55 p.m., where a search in the water began. "We believe the witnesses to be credible in seeing something in the water and they remained with fire crews and police for quite some time after their initial call to 911," said Couch. Crews used sonars from the New Martinsville Fire Department, Tyler County Office of Emergency Management, and the Tyler County Sheriff's Department as well as operated drags in the search area and deployed two different cadaver dogs on the boats.
Harlan Drive in New Martinsville was blocked most of Monday after some passersby reportedly saw some hands in Fishing Creek, waving as if seeking help. Crews performed a rather extensive search of the area but could find no drowning victim and no one has been reported missing in the local area. (Photo by Lauren Riggs)
"The area of the search has a heavy burden of debris and dozens of passes were made with the various sonars and drags," according to Couch. Additionally police contacted various surrounding agencies to determine if anyone had been reported missing, none of those agencies had any missing persons reported.
"Our search of the area revealed no obvious signs of a person in the water, police found no foot prints leading to the water along the creek, and no one had been noticed on the train bridge at the time of the incident," Couch said. Crews did recover a bicycle from the creek bottom that may have been thrown into the creek from the train bridge. Couch said by all indications the bicycle had been there for at least several weeks, or longer.
Search teams remained in the area until 7 p.m. and will return to the area if additional information comes available indicating that additional searches are needed.
New Martinsville VFD was assisted by New Martinsville Police Department, Tyler County Office of Emergency Services, Tyler County Sheriff's Department as well as cadaver dogs from Tyler and Marshal counties. The Hannibal Lock and Dam as well as CSX Railroad were notified of the operations.