Accident Database

Report ID# 34714

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Other
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description

From Jim Mazolla:  Highly suspect he was not wearing PFD as this group, Michigan River Rats, posts nearly 100% of their activities showing PFD strapped to front deck. When will people learn!


UPDATE: Search for man who went missing

while canoeing in Berrien Co. to resume Monday

UPDATE: Search for man who went missing while canoeing

By Megan Smedley | 

Posted: Sun 9:29 AM, Jul 22, 2018  | 

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - The Berrien County Sheriff's Office has suspended the search for a reported person who went missing while canoeing on the St. Joseph River. He was last seen near the Jasper Dairy Boat Launch in Royalton Township.

Officials received a report of the missing person on Saturday shortly after 6:45 p.m.

According to a Berrien County Sheriff's press release, the missing person is presumed to be a 35-year-old man from the Kalamazoo area named Michael Scott.

Scott was canoeing with his friend, Andrea Dick, when he went in the water.

"I rounded the S curve, I turned around, I looked back, I saw his boat and I didn't see him," said Dick. "His boat was just floating."

Scott and Dick are both part of the Kalamazoo Paddle Club. It is an exclusive group where everyone is considered family.

"I can't even count how many times I've paddled with him," said Dick. "He brought me into the group, saved my life. He's my brother. It's our family. He'd give me the shirt off his back. He'd give anybody anything he could."

The Berrien County Sheriff's Office Marine Division conducted an extensive search of the St. Joseph River. Authorities also used an advanced aerial drone to search, as well as an underwater drone. Deputies found the canoe. However, Scott has not been located.

The Berrien County Sheriff's Office Marine Division and Dive Team continued to search the St. Joseph River and surrounding areas on Sunday for Soott.

Members of the Kalamazoo Paddle Club have also been searching the river for Scott who went missing while canoeing. "This is what it's supposed to look like," said Dick. "This is what community is."

As of Sunday afternoon, divers have been pulled out of the water for the day and will be back at 8 a.m. on Monday to resume their search. The Berrien County Sheriff's Office considered the search high-risk because of high, fast-flowing water and debris, making underwater visibility difficult. Scott is considered one of the more experienced paddlers within the group.

"If anybody should've been in that water yesterday, it surely shouldn't have been him," said Dick.

If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact the Berrien County Central Dispatch Office at (269) 983-7141.

he Kalamazoo Paddle Club has also set up a Go Fund Me for Michael Scott's parent's travel expenses and to support his two children.

Canoeist found dead in river 'the most very rare of persons,' friend says
Aug 2, 2018
KALAMAZOO, MI - Friends of a man found dead in the St. Joseph River are remembering him as a friend to many, a lover of water and "the most very rare of persons."
"Once in a great while you meet a character that shines like the character of Michael Scott," said Cam Lindblade, a co-founder of the Kalamazoo Paddle Club.
Scott, 35, disappeared Saturday, July 21, while paddling near Jasper Dairy Boat Launch, on the St. Joseph River in Berrien County, sheriff's deputies said. The area of the river where he went missing has low-visibility, trees and debris and depths ranging from four to 16 feet. Police and volunteers spent two days searching for Scott's body.
Police were called late Monday, July 23, by searchers using a boat for bow fishing who spotted the body while using high-powered lights that are designed to look deep into the water for fish. The sheriff's marine division responded and found the body about 200 yards south of the boat ramp.
The body was partially visible above the water and tangled in trees and debris. It matched the description of Scott. An autopsy conducted July 25 confirmed the body was Michael Scott's and determined his preliminary cause of death was drowning, Berrien County Undersheriff Charles Heit said.
Lindblade said members of the club are reeling with grief following Scott's death because he simply had so many friends who he paddled with regularly.
Scott's friends from the club are raising money via GoFundMe to help Scott's family pay for his funeral and to help his children. As of Wednesday afternoon, 62 people had donated more than $3,000 through the fundraising site. They also are organizing a memorial service for him.

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