By Terry Harris
The search for a missing Surry County boater ended in tragedy on Thursday, May 6, when the body of 34-year-old Russell Hines, who had been missing since Sunday evening, was recovered by Virginia Marine Police.
The discovery followed a search of more than 200 square miles along and around the James River that, in addition to an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C, included assistance from the James City County (JCC) Fire Department, JCC Police Department, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, West Point Volunteer Fire Department, Prince George’s County Fire Department, Newport News Fire Department, and the Surry County Sheriff’s Department.
Hines was on the way home from Surry Seafood Company on his 29 foot boat Sunday night, May 2, when he disappeared, according to local authorities. The next day, his empty boat was discovered in the James River near Mount Pleasant Planation in Surry County in the vicinity of Gray's Creek with the engine still running. As the massive search went on, the owners of the restaurant extended an offer via Facebook of complimentary dockage for any vessels involved during the search by authorization of Surry County Administrator Melissa Rollins with the approval of the county’s Board of Supervisors.
Surry County Sheriff Carlos Turner, whose department assisted in the search, related afterward that Hines “worked for Dominion, and was a lifelong resident of the area, well-known and thought of. Many locals came out with their own boats to help search for him. I know the thoughts and prayers of the entire community go out to his wife and two small children and all their family.”