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Kayaker Safe at Home

Park service helicopter searches over Great Falls on Sunday, June 15 before the search for the possibly missing kayaker was called off.

Park service helicopter searches over Great Falls on Sunday, June 15 before the search for the possibly missing kayaker was called off. Photo by Mary Kimm.

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Fairfax County Swift Water Crews attend a briefing near Old Anglers Inn along with Montgomery County Swift Water Rescue as search regroups. The search, launched by the discovery of an empty, upside-down kayak, ended when the kayaker, an unidentified Reston man, was discovered safe at home.

Apparently unaware of a three-day search effort, a kayaker made his way home safely after capsizing in his kayak near Great Falls.

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MCFRS Battalion Chief 2, Kent Mallalieu, operates Unified Command Post near river's edge at Old Angler's Inn boat ramp as part of a three-day search that included dozens of staff, plus boats and helicopters.

Search managers with the Montgomery County Police Department sought the public’s assistance in identifying the owner of a kayak found on the Potomac River south of Great Falls on Friday, June 13.

A multi-jurisdictional search for a kayaker believed to be in distress began at approximately 1:45 p.m. on Friday, June 13, when witnesses in the area of the Observation Deck at Great Falls near the Virginia shore reported seeing a white male in a red kayak with a white paddle. Some time later, a kayaker down river located a red kayak and white paddle, the kayak floating upside down near the Anglers Inn boat ramp in Potomac.

Rescue crews including boats, helicopters and a ground effort searched Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning for the presumed missing kayaker. Police released a photo of the kayak and other equipment found in the river.

On Sunday, the kayaker was identified through others who recognized the equipment. After speaking to him, police determined that the kayaker had experienced trouble in the water Friday afternoon and was able to swim to shore, leaving the boat in the water.

"He did not realize that his boat had been recovered and that he was the subject of a search," police said.