UA student dies in Black Warrior River
The body of missing UA student Charles Edward Jones, III was found just before 2:00 p.m. Friday and moved to an undisclosed location, Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Chris Williamson said.
Jones fell into the Black Warrior River Thursday night during a party on the Bama Belle riverboat hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
“At 9:50 p.m. we received a call that somebody went overboard on the Bama Belle, west of the amphitheater, and units responded,” Tuscaloosa Police Department Sgt. Brent Blakely said Thursday night.
Authorities conducted a search late Thursday but had to suspend efforts until first light. Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue personnel began arriving near the Bama Belle dock around 7:30 a.m. Friday. Dozens of family and friends gathered by the Bama Belle dock early in the morning, waiting for news.
Blakely said investigations into Jones's death are on-going, and would include interviews of those on the boat with Jones Thursday night. Police confirmed that alcohol was present on the boat Thursday night.
Blakely said he would not go into the details of the possibility of investigations being made into whether Jones was served or given alcohol on the Bama Belle.
Jones, known as "Tre" to friends and family, was a sophomore chemical engineering major from Demopolis. Sources confirm Jones recently "crossed," or was initiated into, the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
Blakely said more than a dozen divers conducted a "very meticulous" underwater grid search at 30 to 40 foot depths. Parker said divers marked off six foot sections at a time to create a grid pattern and covered at least 3000 sq. ft.
"It's black three feet below the surface," EMS Chief Travis Parker told the media. "They're basically blind, they're feeling through the grid."
Assistant Managing Editor Will Tucker contributed to this report.