Search called off after report of cars crashing into Cape Fear River from I-95

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Authorities said Friday afternoon they have called off further search efforts after a report that two vehicles traveling along Interstate 95 crashed into the Cape Fear River

The search started around 7 p.m. Thursday after the North Carolina State Highway Patrol received a report that a vehicle crashed on Interstate 95 SB before exit 46 and into the river.

“We also received information that there were possibly two vehicles that had exited the bridge due to some type of accident, maybe a road rage incident, which hasn’t been confirmed,” said Richard Bradshaw, Fire Chief for the Vander Fire Department. “I was told by one of the people who approached me that one was a white vehicle, I was also informed by another person that one was a black vehicle.”

It’s unclear how many people were inside of the vehicles. Firefighters at the scene told CBS 17 the river is known to have strong currents and the area has waters up to 19 feet deep. Vander said the water was murky during the search and had a lot of debris.

At least five water rescue boats were involved in the search Thursday night.

“At this part of the search with the side sonar, we’ve had some hits, but we really don’t have nothing that’s alerting,” said Vander. “We’ve had some hits, so that’s why we’re gonna cease for the night.

On Friday afternoon, officials said crews they dove again into areas where sonar hits were initially detected — but nothing was found. Authorities said that they exhausted all search efforts.

On Friday, 42 crew members, including 10 divers, were in nine rescue boats. A drone was also used in Friday’s search.

“If there are vehicles, or a vehicle in the water, it’s pretty much easy to say it will be a recovery, with the amount of time that’s passed.”

Troopers will now send out a Division of Criminal Investigation message for drivers on the East Coast about a missing or overdue black 2004 to 2007 black Toyota.

Southbound lanes of Interstate 95 were closed near Fayetteville. The road reopened after 11:15 p.m.

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