Body of missing boater recovered from Black Warrior River

Search for missing boater

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: Search crews recovered a body from the spillway of Oliver Lock and Dam on Thursday morning.

Bart Marshal, Chief of Northport Fire Rescue, said the body of 20-year-old Kirsten Jones was recovered from the Black Warrior River around 10 a.m.

Marshal said Jones was a University of Alabama student from Niceville, Florida. Jones and two others were in a boat that went over the spillway on Tuesday night. The other two boaters made it out of the river.

The University of Alabama released the following statement:

“The University of Alabama community is saddened by the loss of student Kirsten Jones, who was involved in a boating accident on the Black Warrior River. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends as we mourn one of our UA family. Counseling is available to all UA students through the UA Counseling Center at 1001 Jackson Avenue or 205-348-3863, and to all faculty and staff through the UA Employee Assistance Program at hr.ua.edu.”


The search resumed today for a young woman who has not been seen since she and two others went over the spillway at Tuscaloosa’s Oliver Lock and Dam Tuesday evening.

The Northport Fire and Rescue spokesperson says the missing woman is approximately 20 years old. Another woman and a man made it out of the water and they are okay.

“Right now we’re using side scanner on the dive boats and rescue boats. They have pinpointed four potential search areas,” said Battalion Chief Roger Potter with Northport Fire Rescue Service.

Tuscaloosa Fire & Rescue, Northport Fire, Tuscaloosa Police and Northport Police all responded to the accident around 8 p.m. Tuesday. There was one boat involved and officials say it’s not clear if the people involved knew how close they were to the spillway before their boat overturned.

“Anytime you have a situation like this, you’re going to use every resource that you have,” Potter said. “Be aware of your surroundings, your location and all that, especially after hours, dark and stuff like that.”

The search resumed Wednesday morning with Tuscaloosa, Northport, the University of Alabama and ALEA all supplying manpower and equipment to find the missing woman. ALEA dropped off one boat at the landing just before 6:30 a.m.

Chief Potter stressed the importance of wearing a life vest to increase chances of survival if you’re thrown from a boat.

“You want to give yourself the best chance of anything. It’s like wearing your seatbelt in a vehicle. It’s recommended that you wear your life vest.”

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