Great Falls kayaker found safe after two-day search

WASHINGTON — A kayaker in distress prompted a massive search over the weekend — but he was found after crews searched for nearly two days.

The man was seen struggling in the Potomac River near Great Falls Friday. Montgomery County Fire Spokesman Pete Piringer says the owner of the kayak was found Sunday safe at home in Reston, Virginia.

Witnesses said they saw someone struggling in the water on Friday and the empty kayak was found a short time later. Also, police located a bouyant bag in the empty kayak.

A kayaker down river located a red kayak and white paddle an hour after the distress call. The kayak was floating upside down near the Anglers Inn boat ramp.

The kayaker, whose name has not yet been released, told police that he had experienced trouble in the water Friday afternoon and had to swim to shore, leaving the boat in the water.

The kayaker said he did not realize that his boat had been recovered and that he was the subject of a search, according to police. He is in good health, police say.

Rescue teams from Montgomery and Fairfax counties used thermal imaging-technology and a heliocopter to try to find him.

After heavy rains last week, Piringer says the Potomac River waters were high, and the current was very strong.

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