The body was recovered by car from a fishing pier in Virginia Beach

The body was recovered by car from a fishing pier in Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Police confirmed a body was found inside an SUV recovered from the ocean floor nearly a week after the vehicle left a fishing pier in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach police said Friday morning that the body recovered was inside a red Nissan Kicks that had no license plates.

The medical examiner’s office will identify the body and then notify the person’s next of kin, police said.

“They have put our forensic specialists on board and they will extract the body from the vehicle and he will go with the coroner and try to identify him and reunite him with his family,” VBPD Chief Communications Officer Jodi Saunders said.

The car remained on the ocean floor for about seven days after leaving a fishing pier in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach Police led the rescue effort in coordination with Crofton Industries, whose professional salvage and diving team was able to lift the vehicle onto a barge. The entities delayed the recovery process for several days to ensure the task was completed safely.

The first diver from Crofton Industries entered the water around 9 a.m. and the operation took place at 9:48 a.m., police said.

The vehicle was recovered around 9:20 a.m. Friday. The front of the car appeared to be crushed, with the hood partially hanging off as it was lifted upside down from the water.

Police said there were no injuries during recovery efforts.

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier

WTKR

Jimmy Speedway, one of the spectators who watched the recovery process, said he hopes the situation reminds people to be conscious of their well-being.

“We came here today to spread awareness of the seriousness of mental health, what people can do to get help, and the best choices to make,” Speedway said.

“I think a lot of people in Virginia Beach right now are hugging their loved ones a little tighter and just trying to connect with the people they love and make sure they’re okay,” Speedway continued.

A vigil will be held at 6 p.m. at the fishing pier using candles in honor of the deceased person.

Videos depicting the accident and its aftermath on the sidewalk have garnered tens of millions of views on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Fishing pier crash in Virginia Beach

WTVR

Here’s a timeline of what we’ve learned so far:

Friday, February 2: The body and car have been recovered, police say

  • A vigil will be held at 6 p.m. at the fishing pier using candles in honor of the deceased person. As of this writing, the person has not been identified by police.
  • At 10:15 a.m., police reported that the body recovered was that of the passenger of the red Nissan Kicks that was recovered, and there was no license plate attached to it. Police added that the next steps require medical examiners to identify the body, then notify the next of kin.
    “They’ve put our forensic specialists on board and they’re going to extract the body from the car and he’s going to go with the coroner and try to identify him and reunite him with his family,” said Judy, VBPD’s chief communications officer. Saunders.
  • At approximately 9:20 a.m., the vehicle was recovered from the ocean. The operation was conducted at 9:48 a.m., and no one was injured during recovery, police said.
  • The first diver from Crofton Industries entered the water around 9 a.m., police said

Disclaimer: Some viewers may find the content in the video below disturbing

The vehicle was pulled from the ocean at a fishing pier in Virginia Beach

  • 9:08 a.m. VBPD Published to X Conditions appear to be right for a recovery attempt this morning. A Crofton Industries barge arrived just after 6 a.m. for preparation. A portion of the shoreline and pier were closed to allow first responders and other personnel to “carry out this sensitive operation.”
  • At approximately 8:30 a.m., VBPD boats could be seen patrolling the waters near the pier.
vbpd on the dock

Kelsey Jones/WTKR

  • Just before 8:45 a.m., a News 3 crew saw a crane positioned in the water near the pier.
vb quay crane

Kelsey Jones/WTKR

Thursday 1 February: Conditions are not suitable for a recovery attempt

  • News 3 spoke with Virginia Beach Police Thursday morning about whether they would try to recover, but they were unable to commit, as their Marine unit must first consult with dive and rescue group Crofton Industries.
  • Just before 11 a.m., a News 3 crew saw a VBPD boat patrolling the area near the edge of the fishing pier.

VBPD boats patrol the fishing pier area

IMG_4907.jpg

Angela Bohun/WTKR

  • Around 12:30 p.m., VBPD said Crofton Industries informed them that conditions were not suitable for recoveries. They added that Crofton Industries is monitoring the weather, and there are indications that another attempt may occur on Friday.

Wednesday 31 January: The car stays in the water

  • Just before 1 p.m., police said weather conditions prevented another recovery attempt. Police said there is a National Weather Service Small Vessel Advisory in place.
  • Police previously indicated the next recovery attempt could be on Thursday, February 1.
  • Drone footage captured Wednesday afternoon showed conditions at the Oceanfront, also giving a new look at the damage to the pier.

Drone footage of the Virginia Beach Pier

Tuesday 30 January: The missing man is likely related to the accident

  • Just before 10 a.m., police shared they were working to find out if the missing man was somehow connected to the car that drove off the fishing pier. According to police, a family contacted them about a missing male relative. Police noted that the missing person case has many similarities to the circumstances surrounding the car that fell into the water.
  • Police did not share specific connections between the two cases. They made the following statement:

“Although we have indications that these cases are linked, we are currently unable to confirm the connection of this missing person to the vehicle that has yet to be recovered. The ROV was unable to determine if the submerged vehicle had a license plate attached or not.

Once the vehicle is recovered, we will need to go to the local office for a medical examination to confirm the identity of any passenger(s). Ongoing recovery efforts remain focused on reuniting any occupant(s) with their loved ones and maintaining the integrity of the investigation.

A suicide awareness sign on a Virginia Beach fishing pier

Angela Bohun/WTKR

Monday 29 January: Police share an update and underwater video

  • VBPD Sgt. Brian Ricardo provided an update on the logistics of the recovery effort during a news conference.

“The vehicle is unstable,” the sergeant explained. Ricardo. “The fear for us is not that the car will be swept away, but that a divers will become entangled in the car.”

  • At 5:30 p.m., VBPD released a video captured using the Chesapeake Fire Department’s ROV (remotely operated vehicle). The police were able to confirm from the video that the car was upside down and swaying with the current.

Video of a car in the ocean next to VB Pier

Sunday 28 January: Trying to recover the car

  • At approximately 1 p.m., professional rescue divers from Crofton Industries and a rescue barge were used to attempt to recover the vehicle, police said. The dangerous water conditions raised safety concerns for divers and issues regarding maintaining the stability of the rescue barge.
IMG_1936.jpg

Daniel Saitta/WTKR

A barge and crane from Crofton Diving and Salvage arrived at the end of the pier to retrieve the vehicle.

“At this time, the exact number or identity of the occupants remains unknown. The goal of this mission is to safely recover the vehicle, reunite all occupants with their loved ones, and keep all evidence safe.

Saturday 27 January: The car drives off the pier into the water before dawn

  • Reports of a car running off the sidewalk at Oceanfront on the 14thy Police said Saint began showing up just before 7 a.m.
  • When Virginia Beach police and fire personnel arrived at the pier minutes later, they said they found a car in the water.
vb sidewalk.jpg

WTKR

  • A video shared with News 3 shows the car driving toward the end of the sidewalk, stopping briefly, then pulling away from the end.

The raw video shows a car driving away from the VB fishing pier

  • Police said dangerous water conditions, including poor visibility, prevented divers from recovering the vehicle that day. Instead, police said sonar was used to locate the vehicle, which was later determined to be at the bottom of the ocean.

This timeline will be updated as we learn more.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or experiencing emotional distress, we encourage you to use the following resources.

988 Suicide and Crises Lifeline

You can call or text 988 if you are experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress. It is a nationwide network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential support. They are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can learn more at 988lifeline.org.

Find treatment.gov

Findtreatment.gov is a confidential and anonymous resource for locating treatment facilities for mental and substance use disorders in the United States and its territories. Visit https://findtreatment.gov/locator to locate treatment options near you.

National Alliance for Mental Illness Helpline

The NAMI Helpline is a free, nationwide peer-supported service that provides information, resource referrals and support to people experiencing a mental health condition. You can text Helpline to 62640 or call 800-950-6264. Learn more about additional resources at www.nami.org/help.

Open track of group psychotherapy

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is a national network of mental health professionals who offer virtual and in-home sessions at a deeply discounted price to people who qualify. You can learn more at www.openpathcollective.org.

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