By Trina Orlando
OHIOPYLE (KDKA) — The search continued today for a missing kayaker in Ohiopyle State Park.
The 31-year-old man from Acme was kayaking with a friend Saturday afternoon when the two were thrown from their boats.
One of the men was able to swim to safety. The other hasn’t been seen since.
Authorities say the men threw in at an illegal launch area near Stewarton Rapids.
They were planning to kayak from there all the way to Yough Park in Connellsville where they would meet and drive back.
The man who swam to safety made his way to Connellsville, but called for help when his friend never showed up.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), state police and local fire departments have all been participating in this massive search effort. They are searching in the water, on the river banks and from the sky.
Park Manager James Juran says on Saturday the water level was around 7 1/2 feet, but the Army Corps of Engineers has since lowered the level to around 4 1/2 feet to help with the search efforts.
Authorities say these kayakers likely weren’t anticipating the difficult conditions on the Youghiogheny River, which created a recipe for disaster. The men were using flat water kayaks instead of white water kayaks. They were not wearing life jackets and neither had experience in white water kayaking.
Authorities say the search will continue until the missing kayaker is found. His name is not being released until that time.