Family Tells First Hand How Riggleman Died on the James - - ABC13

Family Tells First Hand How Riggleman Died on the James

Robert Riggleman [standing]; Charles Riggleman [sitting] Robert Riggleman [standing]; Charles Riggleman [sitting]

Reporter: Sally Delta

Appomattox, Co., VA - An Appomattox family is grieving the loss of the late Robert Riggleman. Robert died Saturday when his boat capsized in the Stapleton area of the James River. There was another passenger in the boat, Charles Riggleman, who survived the incident. We spoke with him one day after Robert's sudden death.

Sunday, Charles and his family went back to the very place that Robert's body was pulled out of the water. That's where we spoke with the family, at the site of the accident. Charles didn't want to go on camera, but agreed to tell us what happened first hand.

Charles sits Sunday by the very river that took his nephew Robert away Saturday; It's a place that used to have pleasant memories.

"Robert always had a boat from when we were younger. He always had a boat and he and Pop-Pop always stuck together," said Tina Riggleman, Robert's cousin.

Pop-Pop is Charles, Tina Riggleman's grandfather. Robert is her second cousin. She remembers when she heard the news.

"We came straight to the river and by the time we got here the ambulance had already took Robert. And Pop-Pop was wrapped up in a blanket," said Tina.

62-year-old Robert Edward Riggleman was in his anchored boat when he stood up to pull the anchor out of the water. While Robert was standing, another boat passed his, causing a wake that made him fall out of the boat.

"Pop-Pop grabbed onto the motor and Robert was holding onto him and when the boat flipped something must have hit Robert in the head," said Tina.

Charles says that right after the boat flipped he saw Robert and noticed a bump on his head. Robert was even talking.

"Robert kept saying, 'We're going to die.' And Pop-Pop said, 'No, we're not, just hold on.' And the next thing Pop-Pop, knew Robert just let go," said Tina.

Robert floated about a mile away. His body stopping at shallow ground.

"I'll never be able to look at this water the same," said Tina.

It was a shock for the Riggleman's to lose Robert so suddenly. Now, the family has the heavy task of planning his funeral, which will be this week at the Robinson funeral home in Appomattox.

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