Teen Drowns at Lake Moomaw

A 15-year-old Tazewell County boy drowned Friday afternoon while swimming at the beach area of Lake Moomaw.

According to a report from the Highland-Bath Recorder, Bath County Sheriff Robert Plecker said the teen and his family were camping at the Dominion Power Recreation Area in Mountain Grove and decided to visit the lake. The youth had been swimming with his sister, who had asked their mother for assistance because she was tired – when the pair got to shallower water, they turned to locate the boy and noticed his absence.

Plecker estimated it was about 10 minutes before the teen was noticed missing before the call came in to the sheriff’s office at about 3 p.m.

He and Deputy James Rexrode were the first two responders on the scene. In addition to the sheriff’s office, Emergency Services Coordinator Andy Seabolt said the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, U.S. Forest Service, Hot Springs Fire Department, Hot Springs Volunteer Rescue Squad, Mountain Grove Volunteer Fire Department and Bath County Emergency Services responded.

A team from the Virginia State Police and MeadWestvaco Dive Team were on their way to the lake when the boy was found, Seabolt said.

In addition, Plecker said, several bystanders entered the water to help emergency personnel search for the teen. Plecker gave particular credit to Joe and Crystal Demonbreun of Covington, who were boating on the lake and made their boat available for emergency personnel to rest on while swimming during the search.


Employees of American Land and Leisure, the company that operates the recreation area at Lake Moomaw, also assisted.

Plecker said the boy was found in about eight feet of water, near the orange buoys that mark the swimming area. Once he was gotten to shore, emergency workers immediately started CPR and the teen was transported to Bath Community Hospital. Plecker said he was found at about 4:30 p.m. and officially pronounced dead at the hospital at about 7 p.m.

We thank the Highland-Bath Recorder for this report.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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