Kittitas County search crews recover body of Western WA man who fell off his paddleboard

Kittitas County
Image credit: Kittitas County Sheriff's Office, Facebook

UPDATE on June 1, 2022: Five days after he went missing, the body of a missing father and husband from Western Washington was recovered on Lake Keechelus in Kittitas County.

According to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, the man lost his balance while paddleboarding on Sunday, May 22. His children told his wife, who then called 911 for help. After several days of extensive searches, his body was recovered almost 50 feet deep in near-freezing waters.

“We mourn with [the victim’s] family and ask everyone who uses the waterways of our county to recognize the serious hazards of cold water,” Sheriff Clay Myers said. “We’re also deeply grateful for the assistance of neighboring agencies and all the professionals and trained volunteers who gave their time and skill to bring [the victim] home to his family.”

The following breaking news story has been left unaltered from its original publishing. 

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Search and rescue crews are looking for a man who was reported missing on Sunday evening after he went paddleboarding on Lake Keechelus in Kittitas County and didn’t return.

According to a statement from the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office,  deputies and S&R teams have been periodically surveying the area in search of a 39-year-old resident of Western Washington. He was reported as falling off his paddleboard and did not make it back to shore.

READ: Kittitas County Search and Rescue moves north to Cle Elum facility

Lake Keechelus is located just south of Snoqualmie Pass off I-90 in northern Kittitas County. The efforts drew a response from KCSO Marine Patrol, KCSAR, Snoqualmie Pass Fire & Rescue, and Eastside Fire & Rescue.

Those groups deployed a heap of resources including several boats, search dogs, drones, and reinforcements. Their efforts launched on Sunday night and resumed on Monday morning with additional help from a specialized drone that operates underwater.

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No further details regarding the search efforts or their results have been shared with the public. Additionally, the Kittitas County officials have opted not to identify the missing person.

In March, the Kittitas County SAR moved its base up to Cle Elum in an attempt to increase response time during critical incidents throughout the region. With wildfire season largely impacting the woodland area and search efforts extending in that same region, it was a logical choice for public leaders.

This is a breaking news story. An update and/or follow-up may be issued once further details are publically revealed.


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