Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Public Information Officer Paige Pearson provided additional information today pertaining to the death of Richard Donald Haynes III, who fell in Smith Mountain Lake on Friday.

Two men were going out for a day of fishing and launching their boat from the Penhook boat ramp. Haynes, a 35-year-old man who was handling the boat, somehow fell into the water about 25 feet from the ramp, according to Pearson.

The boat continued drifting out into the cove, and Haynes kept attempting to climb back into the boat but was unsuccessful. As he swam back to shore, an onlooker noticed he was struggling and jumped in the water to try to help him get to safety.

Two other onlookers threw them a life jacket, tied with a rope, and threw it out to help the two get back faster. Once they arrived back at the dock, EMS was quick to begin CPR, Pearson said, but he was later declared dead.

"We want to thank the kind citizens who were at the Penhook boat ramp that day for trying to save Mr. Haynes life and want to send our condolences out to his family and friends," Pearson said.

Haynes was not wearing a life jacket during the incident. Pearson reminded the public to always wear a life jacket, as it can save lives.

DWR was assisted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s department, Glade Hill Rescue Squad and Cool Branch Fire and Rescue.

Wright Funeral Service & Crematory in Martinsville, Virginia, is handling arrangements.

Original 4:46 p.m. 2-13-21

A man who fell into Smith Mountain Lake is dead, according to Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Public Information Officer Paige Pearson today.

Pearson stated that the man was identified as Richard Donald Haynes III of Axton. He fell into the water as he was launching a boat.

The cause of death is unknown at this time.

According to an 11:07 a.m. post Friday on the Responding Fire page, rescue crews were sent to Smith Mountain Lake at the 1300 block of Jefferson Dock Road in the Penhook area of Franklin County for a drowning/water related rescue call.

This is where the Penhook #9 Boat Ramp is located.

Two men were launching a boat when one man allegedly fell overboard while the other was parking a vehicle and boat trailer. A woman who witnessed the incident allegedly jumped in the water to assist.

The man was transported to the hospital that morning, and the case was deemed a fatality.

Responding were Company 11 SML Fire Boats, Company 13 Cool Branch, Company 4 Glade Hill, Squad 13 Cool Branch Rescue and Med. 1-4 FCPS, according to Responding Fire.

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