Search continues along Potomac River for missing kayaker

Update: The missing kayaker rescue teams had been searching for on the Potomac River since Friday has been found alive and well in Reston on Sunday.

The person responsible for search efforts tells police, the man bailed out of his boat and swam to shore and went home. He had been oblivious to the search, says Pete Piringer, Chief Spokesperson for Montgomery County (MD) Fire & Rescue Service.


WJLA) - By air, by water, and even on the shoreline – there was an urgent search for a missing kayaker along a muddy, fast-moving Potomac River.

“The river can be fun and at the same time, dangerous at any level,” says paddle board instructor Gregory Miller.

“There's some incredible currents there. While it will flush you, you may be in for a long, dark ride,” adds kayaker Pat Dobak.

Montgomery County Fire Officials, U.S. Park Police, and other agencies spent much of Friday afternoon looking for the lone kayaker. He was last seen in a section known as “The Gorge.”

“We haven't found any debris, certainly no person,” says Pete Piringer with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

The search was focused on the Great Falls area, where at around 2 p.m., a witness spotted the male kayaker in trouble. Searchers have since recovered only the man’s kayak and paddle.

“No one witnessed the boater going into the water…So we're very hopeful he's clinging to an island or tree, or maybe made it to shore,” says Piringer.

But waters are rough and deep at a 25-mile-per-hour current, and the river itself is six feet higher than usual.

“There are undertows where a life jacket might not be enough for you,” says Dobak.

“You don't know what's underneath…Can hit a rock, go unconscious. If he's out of his boat, tends to make me think he got out on purpose,” adds standup paddler Scott Jorss.

Some here were thinking of Shannon Christie, the 23-year-old who drowned last July when her kayak overturned in the Potomac. Most are hoping that the missing man has not suffered a similar fate: