Richard Donald Haynes III, 35, of Axton, Virginia launched his boat with a friend on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 for a day of fishing on Smith Mountain Lake. While his friend was parking the truck, Haynes fell out of the boat into the water and was unable to get back into the boat. He was not wearing a life jacket. He was only 25 feet offshore but was unable to make it back in the icy waters. Onlookers saw him struggling in the water and tied a life jacket to a rope and waded out into the water to throw him the jacket.
CPR was attempted on Haynes at the dock, but medical crews were unable to revive him.
“We want to thank the kind citizens who were at the Penhook boat ramp that day for trying to save Mr. Haynes’ life and want to send our condolences out to his family and friends,” the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources said in a statement.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Glade Hill Volunteer Rescue Squad and Cool Branch Volunteer Fire Company were on hand to help with the rescue efforts.