Rescuers have recovered the body of the 11-year-old drowning victim of a Sunday canoeing accident near the Highland Dam area of the West Fork River, officials confirmed on Monday.
The body of Michelle Joseph was found at about 3 p.m. on Monday near the spot where the canoe capsized, according to Chief Deputy Gary Wine of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
One other person, an 18-year-old foreign exchange student from Japan, died at United Hospital after being pulled from the river on Sunday. A third victim, Terry Joseph, 41, the father of Michelle Joseph, was in critical condition at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown on Monday, said hospital spokesperson Bill Case.
John Elko, chief of the West Milford Volunteer Fire Department, said the three were reportedly paddling a full-sized canoe near the Highland Dam Sunday when the canoe tipped over. Emergency crews responded to the scene around 1:45 p.m.
Deputies from the Harrison County Sheriff's Department were the first to arrive on scene, followed by an ambulance and the West Milford firefighters.
Also responding were fire department personnel from Stonewood, Lost Creek and Nutter Fort, along with ambulances from Harrison County, Clay-Eagle, Anmoore, Salem and Jan-Care. Dive teams from Harrison, Lewis, Marion and Barbour counties also responded.
A search boat made up of firefighters from several local departments located Michelle Joseph's body on Monday, said Patrick SanJulian, captain of the West Milford Volunteer Fire Department.
"We had dive teams from Marion County and Harrison County downstream checking two other places when the body was found near the dam. The firefighters were able to retrieve the body using some rescue equipment, so no divers were needed at the site," SanJulian said.
Three life jackets were recovered from the river, but it was not known if the victims had been wearing the jackets, SanJulian said. The Harrison County Sheriff's Department is continuing their investigation of the incident.