Family of those who died in NC tubing accident on Dan River files lawsuit against Duke Energy

EDEN, N.C. (WTVD) -- A family on Thursday demanded action after their loved ones were killed in a tubing accident in North Carolina.

It happened back in June on the Dan River in Eden, northwest of the Triangle.

The Rockingham County Sheriff's office said nine people went tubing on June 16 on the Dan River but at some point, several of the tubes came untied and some floated over the Duke Energy dam.

'He died a hero:' Family says Dan River tubing accident victim risked life to save woman, child

Four of the nine were found by construction workers 11 hours later. They were "hanging onto various items."

Five people died including Bridish Crawford, Antonio Ramon, Teresa Villino, 14-year-old Sophie Wilson and 7-year-old Isiah Crawford. Teresa Villino's unborn child also died, the family said Thursday.

Other family members, speaking from Indiana on Thursday, said they are suing Duke Energy. They called on the company to modify or eliminate dams altogether.

"They should be held accountable, they should make them safe," Debbie Villino said. "The signs went up two days after this happened. They put big red and yellow signs up. They didn't have nothing there before that though."

Duke Energy previously said there were two signs posted before the accident. The company installed three new signs afterward.

Duke Energy issued an updated statement on Thursday: "Our hearts go out to those involved in the tragic accident on the Dan River. The safety of the public and our employees is our top priority, and we work closely with local communities, organizations and government agencies to promote safe and responsible recreational activities near our facilities. We will respond to the lawsuit in detail in a future legal filing."
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