Two found dead at Teter Creek Lake

The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean The bodies of two Elkins men were found early Monday morning in Teter Creek Lake near Belington following extensive water rescue efforts by area fire companies throughout Sunday night. The two men, and one survivor, ended up in the water after a paddle boat they were fishing from capsized, officials said.

BELINGTON — Two area men are dead after the boat they were fishing from capsized Sunday night at Teter Creek Lake near Belington.

Lieutenant Brad McDougal, of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources law enforcement division, confirmed that the bodies of two men — Ronald Scott Crihfield, 47, and Richard Stanley Jr., 39, both of Elkins — were located in the early morning hours Monday.

Phil Hart, Belington Volunteer Fire Department chief, said the men were found dead after an extensive water rescue mission.

“We were alerted for water rescue about 11 p.m. Sunday evening at Teter Creek Lake. Upon arrival of fire department personnel from Belington, Philippi and Junior, one individual was found out of the water on the bank. He was treated on the scene by Belington EMS and refused transport to a medical facility,” Hart said. “There were two individuals reported missing and unaccounted for. An extensive search was done of the area and we were unable to locate them.

“We went from rescue mode to recovery and at daybreak this morning (Monday) we converged on the general area of the lake where the boat capsized with water rescue teams from Belington, Philippi, Junior, Elkins and Bridgeport fire departments. Using boats, underwater cameras and scuba divers we were able to very quickly locate the two missing individuals,” he continued. “They were recovered by scuba divers from the rescue teams and their bodies were transported to Broaddus Hospital by Belington EMS.”

McDougal and Hart both said none of the individuals were wearing any sort of lifesaving equipment.

“None of the three individuals had on life jackets and there were no life jackets on the boat,” Hart said.

The men were in a Sunbeam four-seat paddle boat which capsized, according to the survivor, Charles Petsko Jr., 36, of Elkins, when one of the men stood up, Hart said. McDougal added Crihfield and Stanley were both operating the boat.

“According to the survivor, they were out enjoying the evening fishing and then one of the individuals stood up and must have lost his balance and fell off the craft,” Hart said. “One of the other individuals reached out to help him and when he leaned over it turned the boat over. That’s how all three of them ended up in the water.”

Hart said he was unsure if alcohol was involved in the incident but stressed no life jackets were worn by any of the three men.

The Barbour County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police, and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources Police, who is the lead investigating agency, assisted at the scene.