The body of a Meigs County man was found at approximately 6:40 this morning about 200 yards downstream of the Hocking River falls at White's Mill on Athens' West Side. The body was recovered from the water shortly thereafter.

Steve Lippson, 40, of Racine, Ohio, had been kayaking with an extended family group on the Hocking River Saturday when he and several others were swept over the short but powerful waterfall near White’s Mill. All but Lippson made it to the shore, some with the help of first responders, and a search of the river for Lippson took place from Saturday to early morning Tuesday.

Lippson's body was discovered by an OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital employee, according to a news release from the Athens County Emergency Management Agency.

"Mr. Lippson’s body was recovered at 7:30 a.m. by the Athens Fire Department, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Athens Police Department, and the Athens County Coroner’s Office," the release said.

An earlier release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported that the incident was still under investigation, and the cause of death was pending an autopsy by the coroner. 

Stephanie Leis, a spokesperson with ODNR, said Tuesday that Lippson had been out on the water with "family and friends," and said that they had launched their kayaks at the "West State Canoe Portage" on the Hocking River (presumably the portage located at West State Street Park).

"Warning signs are visible from the West State Canoe Portage location," Leis confirmed. "There are two large road signs located on the railroad bridge trestle located 20 feet above the water’s edge. The top sign says 'DANGER WATERFALL 900 FEET AHEAD,' and the bottom sign says 'EXIT RIVER NOW' with an arrow pointing back to the canoe portage location."

Lippson had been an employee at Hi-Vac Corporation, located in Marietta, Ohio, for several years. An HR representative provided the following statement early Tuesday afternoon:

"All of us at Hi-Vac Corporation are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the tragic lose of our employee and coworker Steve Lippson. He’s been an employee of Hi-Vac for several years and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family and friends at this most difficult time."

The Athens County EMA release offered condolences to Lippson's family from various local agencies.

"The Athens Fire Department and all agencies involved in this incident would like to extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Lippson for the loss of their loved one," the EMA release reads.

We'll update this story as we know more. Look for additional coverage in Thursday's print