Search For Missing Ohio River Kayaker Enters 3rd Day

LEETSDALE (KDKA) – Officials resumed a search for a missing kayaker in the Ohio River Monday morning.

Crews have been looking for Helene Brandy, 25, after an accident on Saturday.

Family members of the missing kayaker have been at the banks of the Ohio River near Dashields Lock and Dam in Crescent Township for hours. In fact, family members recovered Brandy’s bathing suit a short time ago along the riverbank.

“You have the whole family out here waiting in mourning, waiting for something to happen, we’re the ones that found her swimsuit 50 yards from here. We feel like nothing is happening,” Ken Brandy, Helene’s uncle, told KDKA Monday morning.

A drone was sent up in the air Monday morning to get a better look at the yellow life jacket that’s been floating in the Ohio River on the Leetsdale side.

Brandy’s family hired Steel City Drones. However, the drone had a hard time seeing the life jacket from where it’s sitting in the water.

helene brandy Search For Missing Ohio River Kayaker Enters 3rd Day

Helene Brandy (Photo Courtesy of Brandy Family)

Allegheny County Police were also flying their drone near the dam this morning. They say they spotted the yellow life vest yesterday and there’s no body in it.

By afternoon, search boats arrived.

Crescent Township Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Scott said he understands frustration.

“Anytime you’re searching for someone’s family member, it’s tough on everybody,” he said.

Typically a drowning victim surfaces in about three days, if they are not caught in what they call “the boil,” or hydraulic effect next to the dam.

“We’re still holding out hope, but this is tough on everybody,” Ken Brandy said.

Family members say Helene just got a job in human resources at Dick’s Sporting Goods corporate office, has a new boyfriend and was a Pitt cheerleader.

She and her boyfriend recently bought the kayaks that she and her friend, 25-year-old Brittany Evans of West View, used the day the accident happened.

They reportedly went over the edge of Dashields Lock and Dam.

Evans’ body was recovered Saturday night.

“When you’re going down river and the current is taking you, you can’t tell, it looks flat,” Ken Brandy said. “It’s a dangerous area and they need to address it before more people’s lives at stake.”

An officer with Crescent Township said someone in nearby South Heights spotted two cell phones, a shoe and glove in the water on Sunday. The items were turned over to Allegheny County Police.

The Fish and Boat Commission has also been involved in the search. Officials plan on launching some boats Tuesday. However, family members are desperate and reached out to River Rescue to see if they’d launch some boats today.

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