NEWS – Sweetwaternow.com - Rock Springs, WY
Missing Kayaker Rescued Near Firehole Canyon Over Weekend
By PRESS RELEASE - September 9, 2019
GREEN RIVER — Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office deputies
successfully rescued a Henderson, NV man Sunday morning near Little Firehole
after he was reported missing by a friend on Saturday. The 57-year-old
Henderson, NV man was supposed to meet friends at the Firehold Campground
around 2:30 Saturday afternoon.
The man was kayaking in the area on Saturday. At
approximately 8:30 p.m., deputies responded to the Green River and the upper
part of Flaming Gorge Reservoir in an attempt to locate the man who was overdue
at the Firehole Campground.
A traveling companion of the 57-year-old man reported to
emergency dispatchers that his friend, an experienced kayaker, launched from
Expedition Island in Green River by himself at around 8:00 a.m. Saturday.
The two planned to meet at Firehole Campground at 2:30 p.m.
on Saturday afternoon. After waiting at the rendezvous point for over four
hours, until around 6:30 p.m., the reporting party grew concerned for his
friend’s safety, returned to town and phoned police.
Sheriff’s deputies, along with officers from Green River
Police Department and emergency crews from Green River Fire Department and the
Bureau of Land Management, spread out along the river and scoured the areas of
Expedition Island, Scott’s Bottom, Stratton Meyer, Firehole Campground and
A utility terrain vehicle and rescue boat were deployed to
aid in the search. An AirMed helicopter was also launched in an effort to
canvass the river from above, but was unable to fly low enough to the ground
through the river canyon given the low-light conditions.
After working through the night and into the early morning
hours of Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, rescue crews temporarily suspended the search,
at around 2:00 a.m., and resumed operations at dawn on Sunday morning. After again launching a helicopter to assist with the
search and while the helicopter was en route to the river, at approximately
7:55 a.m. on Sunday morning, Deputy Scott Morris spotted the missing man in a
green inflatable kayak still on the water in the area of Little Firehole and
quickly helped him to shore.
While cold, tired and disoriented, the rescued man was
otherwise uninjured. He told Deputy Morris that he became exhausted after
fighting poor weather conditions and high winds through the canyon the previous
day, that he docked his kayak and spent the night on shore and was attempting
to paddle back upstream to return to his vehicle.
In a social media post yesterday afternoon, the rescued man
wrote, “Well…after an epic cold night, I ended up about 7 miles short of
Firehole Canyon. Thanks to [my friend] for waiting so long for me to show up
last night and for calling.”
Thanks also to Scott Morris of Sweetwater County Sheriff’s
Office for plucking a slightly hypothermic kayaker off the river/reservoir and
delivering me to my vehicle in Green River.”
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office thanks and credits all
involved for a positive outcome in this incident. It is the practice of the
Sheriff’s Office not to identify those involved in a search and rescue mission,
when possible, out of respect for their personal privacy and that of their
friends and family. No further details will be released at this time.