While trout fishing Monday morning on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, James W. Phelps said he turned around to see a wall of water and steel.
A barge of construction debris was coming right at his 17-foot skiff, he said.
“It was wide and high. All I could really see was the barge,” recalled the 77-year-old retiree, who saw his boat sink underneath him a moment later. “It was cold, you know. ... I thought I was going to die.”