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Virginia teen drowns saving friends

HINTON, W.Va.-– A Virginia teenager drowned in the Greenbrier River in Summers County Tuesday evening, the third young person to drown while swimming in that area in just over a week.

Deven Butterworth, 18, of Copper Hill, Virginia was swimming with friends at a popular swimming hole on the Greenbrier River near Hinton.  He went into the water to help two companions who were struggling according to the DNR.

“Two younger girls were swimming out and one was struggling like she couldn’t make it back to shore.  The boys jumped in to help her and the other girl out,” said Natural Resources Police Officer Richie Miller. “They got her on her back and told her to float downstream.  They looked back to see where the other boy was at and they never saw him again.”

Divers recovered Butterworth’s body in about an hour in the same area where he jumped in.  The body was on the bottom in about eight feet of water.

“The Greenbrier is usually not that big of a current, but we’ve had a lot of rain,” said Miller. “You can be in four feet of water and you’ll step into a pool that’s eight or 12 feet and the current will pull you down.”

Lifejackets are advised for anyone going swimming in a West Virginia river.   Brothers Allan Cantrell, 12, and Gabriel Cantrell, 13, both from the Williamson area, were swept away while swimming with family members near their campsite about 10 miles upstream from the Bluestone Dam June 14.  Back on Sunday a man drowned in the Kanawha River near Charleston while trying to help two other swimmers who struggled in the strong current.

“Any time you get into the water you need to be wearing that life jacket,” Miller explained. “A lot of people don’t realize if your on an innertube, a kayak, or anything else that floats you’re required to have a life jacket.  You don’t have to be wearing it, but you have to have it accessible.”

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