Bend kayaker presumed dead after Deschutes River accident; search continues

Courtesy Deschutes Co. SAR
  |  

A 28-year-old Bend man is presumed drowned in the Deschutes River after a kayaking accident over the weekend, according to Deschutes County Search and Rescue.

On Friday night, dispatch received a call regarding a missing kayaker and possible water rescue in the area of Lava Island Falls.

Assistant SAR Coordinator Sgt. Nathan Garibay said Bend Fire & Rescue, DSCO deputies and and SAR volunteers responded to the scene.

Garibay said the kayaker was last seen by his party near Lava Island upstream from Meadow Camp in Class 4/5 whitewater.

Search activities included shore searches, use of a drone and water rescue teams, Garibay said.

Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, searchers found the man’s belongings including his kayak and paddle.

Later that morning, two deputies and 16 SAR volunteers launched the search again with additional drone flights, shore searches and water searches from the swift water dive and rescue team members.

Garibay said resources stayed on the scene until around 7 p.m.

Search efforts continued Sunday around 9 a.m. as crews used underwater pole cameras to search holes and other underwater features.

Garibay said crews worked until around 6 p.m. Sunday night to no avail.

“At this point, we are reassessing our strategies and tactics to continue searching while providing for searcher safety,” Garibay said Monday. “Future operations will include additional searching from the shore and the air as well as the use of dogs as appropriate and safe to do so. As water conditions change, we will revisit areas and research if appropriate.”

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