Canoeists find body in river

April 08, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Two canoeists on Sunday discovered the body of a Virginia man who last month fell into the Shenandoah River while working on a bridge in Clarke County, Va., officials said.

The body of Donnie Calvin Barrow, 31, was found at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday, snagged on debris in the river about eight feet from shore, authorities said.

The body was found about five miles from the point at which Barrow went into the water on March 21, said West Virginia State Police Trooper C.M. Snodgrass.


Firefighters from Independent Fire Co. pulled the body from the river, said Chief Edwin Smith.

About 12 firefighters were involved in the recovery effort, Smith said.

The boaters spotted an arm and shoulder sticking out of the water, Smith said. Barrow's safety belt had gotten caught on a fallen tree below the water, Smith said.

The body was identified by police on the shore and taken by firefighters to a boat ramp.

Barrow had been working on a crew on the Va. 7 bridge resurfacing project when he fell into the river, officials said.

He was on a wooden scaffold, putting chips of concrete into a bucket, when the scaffolding collapsed, said his brother-in-law, Richard Walls of Gerrardstown, W.Va.

Family members and friends had searched daily along the banks of the river since Barrow fell into the river, Walls said.

Barrow was divorced and lived with his mother in Winchester, Va., Walls said. He leaves behind two children, a daughter, 7, and a son, 11. He was one of 12 brothers and sisters.

"He liked spending time with his kids and his mother," Walls said.

"He was a likable person. He worked hard all the time," he said.

The death is being investigated as an accident by the Virginia State Police and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Divers and specially-trained search dogs from Berkeley and Jefferson counties had helped Virginia authorities search for the missing man.

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