Body Found at the Port of West Memphis Believed To Be Missing Barge Captain Vernon Bumgarner

Posted in Barge Accidents,Louisiana Maritime News,Maritime Accidents,Tennessee Maritime News on January 22, 2013

PORT OF WEST MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An unidentified body found at the Port of West Memphis on Friday, Jan. 18, is believed to be that of missing 60-year old barge captain,  Vernon Bumgarner of Louisiana, who fell overboard near Walls in DeSoto County Wednesday night.

Barge captain Vernon Bumgarner of Louisiana

Barge captain Vernon Bumgarner of Louisiana

The body was discovered on the banks of the Mississippi River just before 9 a.m. on Friday, January 18, by search crews who have been searching the Mississippi River for Bumgarner since Wednesday night.

Fox News reported that on Wednesday, DeSoto County rescue crews were informed that the missing 60-year-old fell overboard at River Mile 714 near Pinckney and floated down river toward Bass Landing. That area is approximately 20 to 30 miles north of where the body was found Friday at the port of West Memphis.

Investigators only confirmed that the victim is a white male, and appears to be a bald older man wearing jeans. The body was taken to the Crittenden County Coroner.

Mike Callender of the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office said, “The workers that work out here, I believe it was Kinder Morgan, called and said that they had seen a body in the water. What they believed to be a body in the water and indeed it was.”

Officials reported that Bumgarner’s boat was close to shore when the accident happened on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and that he was not wearing his life jacket when he fell overboard.

Callender says the body they found had no life vest, adding, “When the body was recovered, he had on a pair of what appeared to be blue jeans and a pair of black water boots. No life vest. He was naked from the waste up.”

As of today an ID has not been made.

Blog post by barge injury lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP