UPDATE: Search continues for missing kayaker in Lake Waccamaw

Search continues for missing kayaker in Lake Waccamaw
Published: May. 8, 2022 at 4:49 PM EDT|Updated: May. 9, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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LAKE WACCAMAW, N.C. (WECT) - The search is continuing for a missing person following a kayaking incident in Lake Waccamaw on Sunday.

Three friends were kayaking on the lake at around 11:30 a.m. Sunday. One was in a solo kayak and the other two were in a tandem kayak, according to an official with the NC Division of Parks and Recreation. The tandem kayak flipped when one of the boys tried to stand up.

“They righted the boat and friend from tandem went to fetch paddles. Victim flipped boat again and friends did not see him resurface,” stated the official in an email. “They were there 30-45 minutes until they were picked up by a boat.”

Officials with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office confirmed two people were rescued and evaluated by EMS. The third person is still unaccounted for.

The boys said it was calm when they paddled out but the water was choppy when it became windy.

The victim was wearing boots and heavy clothing and was not wearing a life vest or floatation device; however, he had told friends he knew how to swim. Officials say this should serve as a reminder to always put safety first.

“Even people who consider themselves perfectly good swimmers can have a lot of trouble in situations where either there are underwater hazards that aren’t visible to the naked eye or we have cold temperatures in the water,” said Katie Hall, the public information officer for the NC Division of Parks and Recreation. “We just ask that everyone take a step back and think about what could happen in a worst-case scenario and not just what they expect to happen.”

The search resumed Monday morning. Four boats with sidescan SONAR, two helicopters, underwater drones, and small boats are searching around piers and the shoreline.

Assisting NC Div. of Parks and Recreation in the search are :

NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Lake Waccamaw Fire and Rescue, Lake Waccamaw Station 30, Columbus Co Sheriff’s Office, White Lake Rescue, Acme Delco Rescue, NC State Highway Patrol, and Columbus County Emergency Management.

This is a developing story. We will continue to update this story as we get more details.

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