Virginia Scuba Rescue Team Searches for Missing Teens

The boys disappeared Sunday, February 26 after going canoeing.


Chesterfield's Scuba Rescue Team has been diligently conducting a search for two missing teens in the Swift Creek Reservoir located in Chesterfield County. The boys disappeared Sunday, February 26 after going canoeing.

Assisting in the search is a Sonar Search Team from Virginia State Police, Canine Alert Search and Rescue (a volunteer organization), Metro Aviation Search plane, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Chesterfield County Police. The Base has been Chesterfield County's Command Center Mobile Unit.

Parents contacted police Sunday afternoon around 6:30 p.m. and reported Travis Turner, 13 and Jordan Sebia, 13 missing. The parents said the boys had went canoeing around 1:30 p.m. and had not returned.

Captain Robbie Dawson of Chesterfield Fire and EMS said rescue crews responded immediately.

Dawson explained that conditions were hazardous to searchers. Night had fallen, it was cold and very windy with high gusts. In spite of the dangerous conditions a search plane from Metro Aviation began combing the area and providing light, while rescue crews on the ground searched. The plane spotted the boy's canoe shortly before midnight.

Ground searchers went to the canoe location and discovered it was overturned with no sign of the boys.

Dawson said a surface search was conducted and the next day underwater searching began.

The search has been centered from the northern section of the reservoir to the area where the canoe was discovered. The reservoir is 1,700 acres.

Officials have been working backward from a spot where divers found drag marks on the bottom of the reservoir caused by the overturned canoe's anchor.

Dawson said each day since Sunday, February 26, first thing in the mornings a planning session is held then rescue crews consisting of the Chesterfield Scuba Rescue Team, State Police Sonar Team, Canine Alert Search and Rescue and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries diligently search from dawn to dusk.

Dawson explained the Sonar Team goes over an area and when they pick up signals they leave a "target marker" at the spot. They then move out of the way for divers to conduct a search in that targeted spot. The Captain said divers couldn't remain near the Sonar boats because their presence would interfer with the signals.

A sweat shirt, shoes and a backpack belonging to the boys have been discovered.

Officials said according to witness reports the boys were not wearing life jackets.

A major challenge in the search is chilly water temperatures and the high winds that keep returning.

Officials said the cold water slows decomposing, but when the decomposing process occurs gases form and cause the body to rise. With the chilly temperatures the process has been hindered.

A team has remained on site in the Command Center overnight to monitor the situation.

Chesterfield Scuba Rescue is based at Dutch Gap Station #14 but members are located in several station locations around the county along with the team at Dutch Gap.

"When we find the boys, the search will end," Captain Dawson determinedly said.