Loveland Fire Rescue Authority Calls Off Search for Missing Kayaker

October 2, 2018

Loveland Fire Rescue Authority Battalion Chief Jason Starck readies a drone to use while searching for a missing kayaker Monday at Buckingham Lake in west Loveland.

After more than 11 hours of searching with two or more boats, dive teams, police dogs, a drone and sonar equipment, authorities have stopped searching Monday for the kayaker who went missing Sunday night on Buckingham Lake — that is, unless more evidence arises to suggest they’ll find anything if they continue searching.

The last boat, completing a search pattern, pulled to the shore near West First Street at about 4 p.m. Monday; crews continued to load up gear and leave the scene.

Buckingham Lake is a shallow private reservoir measuring about 2,200 feet by 1,200 feet. Crews found debris at the bottom — such as discarded Christmas trees — but no further sign of the kayaker. Only a handful of homes around the lake have legal water access.

“We have thoroughly searched this lake,” said Loveland Fire Rescue Authority Battalion Chief Rick Davis as he tallied up the search times. He said if Loveland Police have enough evidence to warrant more searching, crews would take to the waters Tuesday or Wednesday “with fresh eyes.”

Dispatch first received a call about the kayaker at 6:33 p.m. Sunday. Crews from Loveland Fire, Berthoud Fire Protection District, Larimer County Dive Rescue, Loveland Police Department and Larimer County Parks arrived on scene soon after to search, though darkness had fallen over the lake by 7:30 p.m. Teams searched the lake until about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. They resumed at 9 a.m. Monday with two boats, a drone and search dogs.

Between 11 a.m. and noon, search dogs entered boats to smell the surface of the water. Search dogs also sniffed the perimeter of the lake from the shore. On a few occasions, dogs barked and entered the water. Dive teams responded to those areas and others that showed abnormalities via sonar.

Davis said water flows through the reservoir, which could change how a body might turn up. A kayak and paddle was pulled to shore Sunday night.

He added that the kayaker was visiting friends who live on the lake when he went missing; when rescue teams first arrived, they had no last-seen point, meaning they don’t know where on the water the kayaker might have fallen into the water.

Hans Peter: 970-635-3630, hpeter@prairiemountainmedia.com

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