The Athens Fire Department has suspended search and rescue operations for a missing kayaker in the Hocking River at approximately 9:15 PM this evening. Recovery operations will continue once the Hocking River water levels lower to safer levels. The Hocking River has been swollen by recent heavy rainfall in the region. The investigation and recovery operation has been transferred to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The Athens Fire Department and Police Department responded to the scene earlier this afternoon for multiple kayakers in the Hocking River near the Whites Mill water fall. Responders discovered twelve (12) kayakers had been in the Hocking River above the water fall. Six (6) kayakers were swept over the water fall. Five (5) of those kayakers were rescued by emergency responders or rescued themselves from the water.
Regional responders spent the afternoon and evening searching the Hocking River for the missing kayaker. No personal information is available about the missing person because authorities are still trying to contact family members. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.