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Missing Kayaker

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I just got a report of a kayaker that is reportedly missing since yesterday in the Grand Isle area. My sources report that a search and rescue mission is now underway. Please pray that he is found safe.

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Missing Kayaker near Grand Isle.

A charter boat captain encountered a kayak fisherman in a red sit-on-top several miles from shore yesterday. The captain spoke with the man who identified himself as 'Eric' and asked if the man needed any assistance. 'Eric' reportedly told the captain this was his second trip in the kayak. The man assured the captain he was doing fine and they parted ways.

Reports now are that the man's truck is still parked at Bridgeside and that a coworker reported
that he did not show up for work.

If you have any info concerning 'Eric' please call the USCG Station at Grand Isle @ (985) 787-2136
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Man, that's a scary situation, hope he's found safe.
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Coast Guard searching Gulf of Mexico for missing boater.

By Paul Purpura, The Times-Picayune

The Coast Guard is searching a swath of the Gulf of Mexico by air and surface near Grand Isle for Eric Richards, 32, a kayaker who set out from the barrier island Monday morning to fish. The Coast Guard's Sector New Orleans in Algiers was notified Tuesday night that Richards has not returned.

A coworker went to the Bridgeside Boat Launch in Grand Isle on Tuesday, after Richards did not show up for work, the Coast Guard said in a statement released just after noon today.

Richards' vehicle was still at the launch, the coworker told the Coast Guard, which was notified at 9:30 p.m., Tuesday. The agency did not release details on Richards.

The Coast Guard is searching a 642-square-mile area with two MH-65C Dolphin helicopters from Air Station New Orleans; an HC-144A Ocean Sentry airplane based in Mobile, Ala.; a C-130 Hercules airplane based in Clearwater, Fla., two small boats from Station Grand Isle; and the cutter Sturgeon, which is based in Grand Isle.

The Coast Guard asks that anyone with information on Richards contact 504.365.2200.
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Just saw another update that states the missing man is from Prairieville.
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Hope he is found safe. Keep us informed if more info comes out!
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As an avid kayaker that has fished several oceans and the Gulf, I don't think ANY fault lies with the charter captain that made contact with the 'yaker. My sources tell me that the guy assured the captain that he was fine. It was not dark or bad conditions at the time. The captain was obviously convinced the gut was not in danger.

Kayaking is a lot of fun, but like any other outdoor sport can be dangerous. Sensible precautions should always be taken:

No one ever thinks it can happen to them. It is very important to have a float plan and someone who knows where you are going and when you are expected back. In the event of a situation, the sooner they can start looking for you is usually better.

Carry communication. A floating/waterproof VHF(especially one with internal emergency GPS coordinates) is better than a cell phone or other radio. Try to fish with at least one partner. Carry safety equipment, light, signaling device, flares. horn, whistle, emergency rations, first aid, etc.

We see guys post all the time about going offshore--'it's only a few miles.' A lot can happen in those few miles. Be smart and take proper precautions. The life you save may be your own!

Still hoping and praying that Mr. Richards is found safe and sound.
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   a.c.man
Drew if the captain offered his assistance and he refused, what do you do, beat him up.
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Are you the pot or the kettle?!
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Chris what is the likelyhood of a kayaker getting seperated from his kayak?

I am not going to write this guy out yet. They apparently haven't found his Kayak. Until then I am thinking he why wouldn't he be in it?

Those currents offshore are just like a river, often to fast to swim against. So Chris is it unreasonable to think he got to tired to paddle against the current? Or is drifting without his paddle?

Obviously anything is possible but I don't kayak so not sure what is the most plausible. Losing the paddle seems to be the most likely in my mind.
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First. I don't intend to let this serious post that involves a life-threatening situation turn into a childish arguing match.

Second. As of this morning, I have seen no new news on this man's fate. Not good.

Third. Mike, as you said, anything's possible. It's not likely that he got separated from the yak unless he encountered bad weather that could have flipped him or thrown him off the yak. I did not see any reports of rough weather.rnrnHe could have lost a paddle and if so, would be subject to the wind and currents as to where he drifted. A paddle leash is always recommended to keep it attached to the yak in case it is accidentally dropped.rnrnAs in any boating situation that involves the vessel taking on water, partially sinking, becoming disabled, etc, it is always best to remain with the vessel. It gives you something to cling to and is much easier for rescuers to spot. Hopefully he also had a PFD.

As of now, we have no real idea of what hapened, only speculation.

I haven't given up hope for this guy. He's a young guy and the weather conditions have been relatively mild. Hopefully he'll be found soon. As each day passes, his chances of being found safe go down. Still praying!
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just heard coast guard new orleans on channel 16 at 1800,,they found the red kayak but still no sign of the person
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Heard that his Kayak was out of the area that had been searched but was next on the list of search areas. Also supposedly his PFD was still with the Kayak.

Not looking good. Hopefully he is on some sort of structure out there.
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Hopefully he is alright but also have to remember how dangerous it can get in a hurry. If he is found to be dead all I can say is he died doing something he enjoyed tremendously. I know that when I die, hopefully not soon, I hope I die doing something I love to do.
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Thank you and everyone else on this thing for keeping us updated. It is not looking good at all for this young man. I have said many times that when something like this occurs, a life is lost but we as Kayakers, Fishermen and Sportsmen can learn from the mistakes as to not have the life that was taken be a waste in terms of keeping someone else safe....When we have accidents in the Sky Diving World we all sit back and study what could of been done differant....I have been known to be a bit careless in the yak many times and will now look at things just a bit differant.....
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As noted above, his yak was apparently foud along with his PFD. Still no sign of him and search crews are checking individual rigs in hopes that he may have made it to one of them.
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   Danny_A
Chris thanks for keeping us all aware of the situation with this man that is missing.

we need to pray for a miracle and not put the blame on anyone esp. a charter captain that offered his assistant. None of us know what was on Eric's mind at the time he set out in his yak. I am sure I speak for anyone when I say 'I hope he is still alive (like another said) on some sort of structure out there.

Thoughts and prayers go to him and his family!
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   TarponTom
It should be highlighted in this tragic story that a phone call was made to the Grand Isle police department early on Tuesday morning to alert them but they passed the buck to the Ascension Parish Sherrif's Dept. The GI police department could easily have driven to where he launched at to see if his car was there but they did not want to be bothered. Kudos to the APSD for alerting his friend to drive down to GI to get the ball rolling quicker. A situation like this demands that you not only call the Coast Guard but also the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries. The Grand Isle police department really dropped the ball here and a policy change needs to be instituted down there because they look worse than the NOPD now.
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I don't know anything about what was reported and what was not. Certainly there will be an investigation at the appropriate time and as noted above, surely there will be various lessons to be learned.

For now, I still believe there is a chance for him to be found alive and that's where the concentration should be focused now.
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   Danny_A
Chris you're exactly right buddy...keep us all up to date as soon as u learn new news.
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Hate to say this, but a 'Yak' is not a open water boat...I feel the Capt.did right by checking for assistance...or maybe calling the Coast Guard would have given him 'second thoughts' about being so far out...it's a hard call to enforce without a badge...
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   wdietz
Admiral, I agree with your yak comment, but as sportsmen that fish the gulf coast, I would venture to say that we have ALL pushed the limits at one time or another. 30 years ago I had a 16ft. rivited aluminum flat that I had to bail water from every couple of minutes, but that didn't keep me from venturing 20 miles offshore. Next time someone wants to push the limits, try and remember this incident. I am still in hopes that they find him alive and in good health. Stay safe!!!!!
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   chefronT
The one thing that sticks in my mind about this was the Life vest was with the boat. As a fellow kayaker its important to have a comfortable life vest that you WILL wear. It only takes a split second to come out of your boat and theres no time to get the vest on in that situation. One of my early trips/lessons I had paddled out to one of the rigs by bayou Lacombe in the lake-----I was fishing with one pole actively and was free linin a croaker well it got wrapped around my rudder and in the process of getting it untangled I took a swim in the lake------got back in my boat and saw there was a bad storm over where I had launched heading my way. That was a very scary paddle from the rig in with the lake kicking up and lightning crashing all over. I swore then if I made it to my truck al;ive Id never venture that far out by myself again......It was one of those life flashin by situations. Better to be lucky than good. Wear your lifevest on the kayak!
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...did you know some Alaskan float-plane pilots wear PFD on take-offs and landing...(even if the water is 33*)...one guy had a belly escape door custom made (because float planes can flip upside down)...remember,there is a old say'n about grabb'n a floating matchstick !!!...

P/S...and there are even a few people that has PFD's and rope on their backseats that crosses the Causeway everyday...and many un-snap their seatbelts...
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I agree with DREW. Its a damn shame that every time something happens they blame someone else. Apparently this guy was a 'GROWN UP'. He chose to paddle out, if not he could have turned around and went back to the landing. He did this to himself, not the police dept, coast guard, LDFW or the charter captin. WEAR YOUR PFD. Its that simple. How many more drownings do we have to see so that people get it in their thick heads that they save lives. I hope and Prey that this guy is alive. It dont look good. As Chris Holmes said have a Plan and let someone know what it is.
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I just saw this update that the USCG is suspending the search for our fellow sportsman. This guy's family is in our deepest prayers.

http://www.wbrz.com/news/coast-guard-suspends-search-for-missing-kayaker

Capt. Travis Lovell
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i'm sure he cared, he didnt want to die, why would you say he didn't care??? he just made a very bad decision, not wearing his pfd, complacent, like we all get sometimes???
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Not the result we were hoping for.

It looks like they conducted a very thorough search over a wide area for several days. Such a tragic result. Guys, please understand the gravity of this situation and learn from it. Not every bad situation can be prevented, but many can. We've often had spirited discussions about wearing PFDs. The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club has previously adopted a mandayory PFD wearing rule requirement for fishing their tournaments. Many club members strongly opposed the rule change, but in the end, the officers felt it was the right thing to do.

Boaters should consider doing the same. Here's yet another instance where the results might have been much different if he had his on. We've seen several power boat accidents also where wearing a PFD could have saved lives.

Prayers and sympathy to his family and friends.
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I hate to speculate about what might have happened but I have to wonder. When offshore I have seen some might big waves put out by big crew boats. It it reasonable to think that a big wave from a crew boat could have knocked him out of the kayak! That seems to be the most plausible idea I can think of.
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   captben
The Captain who made contact with the kayaker is aictually a OSV captain and a friend and coworker of mine. The bright color of the kayak at a distance is what caught his attention. That and the fact that he was 5nm off the coast. He approached the guy to offer assistance but was assured that none was needed. He took this picture before leaving the kayaker.
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   Danny_A
That is just heart breaking that the guy was obviously in no need for help at the time the captain asked him if he needed assistance. So sad that this happened. Like others are saying let this be a huge learning curve for all of us! Anytime you are on the water in a water craft or just swimming, never think this can't happen to you. Guys lets stay safe out there. As much fun as it is to do the things we love with a passion, just remember that life is precious and can be taken from you in a heart beat.
Thoughts and prayers to the Richards family and friends!
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The captain that asked if he needed assistance, took the picture, and passed the information on, is the only reason the family has any clue what may have actually happened to him. I'm sure the family appreciates that, I know I would. That kayak may never have been found until it washed up on some beach, only god knows where and the finders may have never reported it and kept the belongings.
We can only speculate on what actually happened, from the picture he looks like he is really covered up. Sometimes we are crowded under every inch of a T-top to get some relief or can't wait to move and catch a break. I do know this,
dehydration and heat stroke are not fun and does some funny things to a person. There is no relief in a kayak 5 miles offshore.
I also know that I've hooked into some big fish, including tuna, reds, and jacks out there that made it look like a chinesse fire drill even on big boats. I can only imagine what it would be like hooked up with 2 rods out on that thing.
Our prayers are with the family.
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   rocky33
I just posted a comment and somehow this crazy thing had me logged in as Stewartfan. I don't know who that is or how that happened, but sorry about that. I didn't realize until after I read the post.
Rocky
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   cochranx3
As family of Eric, I want to say thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers. We will miss him greatly!
I was taken back by the pic I him in his kayak. I would love to have an original copy if anyone knows how I can obtain it. If can be emailed to me I would greatly appreciate it.
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   captben
Just emailed you the photo. Sorry it isn't better quality.
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a kayak does not belong in the gulf PERIOD..
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'a kayak does not belong in the gulf PERIOD..'

That is your opinion and you are entitled to it.

However, I have safely kayaked the Gulf and several oceans. Proper precautions must always be taken and certainly only done in favorable conditions.

Who makes the rules on what size boat can be in what waters? Is a 20 foot boat too small to be in the Gulf? 22 foot?, etc.

This was a tragic situation and we don't and may never know all of the circumstances.

The one thing it does is to remind everyone to take proper precautions no matter your vessel type or where you're fishing.

I will continue to 'yak in any waters where I can safely do so.
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some people have venomous snakes as pets , some dive with great whites , some say neither is a smart thing to do , I say what ever floats your boat ----
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   Thinline
Fellow sportsmen, I have been following the post by Chris since day one and now will chime in a bit. There are many good points,speculations and opinions shared surrounding this tragic event involving Eric.
However, I am of my own opinion that we are now reminded as individuals how quickly our own and the lives of others can change due to decisions right or wrong that are made individually. We realize that decisions made on a trip a week ago today may have been better for a SOLO Yaker that had the sport running wild in his veins and anyone who shares the sport understands the passion it brings.
I now will make a plea to all to start another post if needed to opinionate on Erics trip and what we should do regarding personal safety and decision making while kayaking or what the persons involved with searching could have done better.
I do not know him, his friends or his family but can only imagine they may be visiting this post regularly hanging onto hope for new information of any type regarding this trip. To see his photo doing exactly what he wanted should be enough for all of us sharing the sport.
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   cochranx3
Again, I would like to say thank you for all of the nice posts. I have also unfortunately seen all of the people's posts ...perhaps without thinking of the family and friends off the person lost. You never know who will be reading what you write. Please remember that we are grieving and have lost someone special. Also, accidents can happen in an instant and this was exactly that...an accident. We can only hope that someone will possibly learn from this accident and our loss. Thank you again for all of the thoughts and prayers.
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   cochranx3
I would personally like to say thank you to 'Thinline'. We truly appreciate the support and understanding!!
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   Thinline
Our Prayers to family and friends for strength and closure to your ordeal. Eric has brought new understanding and awareness to many!
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I have been reading this as new posts are made. I can only say one thing with any degree of certainty. How would the posts look if he had been found on a rig somewhere? Would he be hailed as a brave man that overcame the odds and used quick thinking to swim to a rig and endure the elements until help arrived? The truth is, nobody but Eric and the good Lord know what happened that day. He was doing something he loved to do. He declined help because he felt he had control of his situation.The elements of nature are powerful and breath-taking.Eric's love of the sport and adventure drove him and the people making comments should perhaps not pass judgment on him for doing what he did. I can only say that my prayers are with his family during this difficult time. I pray that this situation reminds us all to live each day as if it were our last. Be wise and be prepared when you take your next adventure. And no matter what adventure it is,do it with passion and be safe. God bless Eric and his family.
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Thank you Chris for reporting this. I knew Eryk for 10+ years. I served 5 of those with him on a sub out of Georgia. Second off for the idiot who calls himself family of 'Eric' your sick for even trying to weasel your way in to a sad and horrible situation. I have friends all over the US asking me about whats going on and I find these forums where idiots like you want a quick laugh. Thanks for making a horrible situation even worse.
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After reading that Eryk served our country on a sub for 5 years, it made perfect sense of his love for the sea. A heartfelt 'thank you' for serving our country and my last words on this topic is that Erik's family and friends are all in my prayers. I pray God provides comfort during this very difficult time. God bless.
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Thoughts and prayers for the family, his friends and Eryk. So sad to lose one of our Sportsman brothers.
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   Neck Shot
Just curious if there is any new information.
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The search was suspended last Friday and there has been no new news.
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