The incident took place in Dan River in the town of Eden, a popular spot for tubing. In total nine people were involved.
The excursion was going fine until they came across the Duke Energy Dam, which, according to Lt Kevin Suthard, has a drop of 8ft. He appeared to discuss details of the incident. Law enforcement say they were not notified about the accident until the afternoon on 17 June, at roughly 3.15 pm.
Four of the party were discovered “hanging on on various items” and they were admitted for medical treatment at a nearby hospital for their non-life-threatening injuries.
The Rockingham County Sherriff’s Office tweeted on Thursday: “Three of the missing five individuals from the Dan River search have been located and recovered (deceased). Two are still missing at this point.”
On Thursday, Rodney Cates, the director of Rockingham County Emergency Services, spoke at a news conference about the two missing people. He said the search would continue into Friday and extend as far as the border with the state of Virginia.
He told reporters: “We’re going to stay positive that we can do a rescue rather than a recovery.”
Mr Cates urged people to stay aware and make certain precautions before venturing out on a similar outing.
“Know where you are, know your surroundings, have your safety vest, your life vest, the inner tube may not always stay inflated and if the inner tube is not inflated you need some type of flotation device to secure you as you are coming on down the river.”
He acknowledged it was a well known destination for tubers, but that people typically got out and walked when they reached the dam.