On Monday, January 31st, the following tragic event made headlines:
"A search for a missing kayaker on Falls Lake has turned into a recovery effort. Authorities say 40-year old Greg Feeter has been missing since launching from the Barton’s Creek Boat Ramp off Six Forks Road on Sunday. Several witnesses reported hearing someone screaming for help on the lake Sunday. "Last night around 7 p.m., we received a call that they were hearing someone cry for help," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. Feeter's wife said when he did not return home, the Wake County Sheriff’s Department launched an intense search with boats, helicopters and dogs. Feeter’s empty kayak, a backpack and several other things have been found, but Feeter has not. Firefighters from several departments have been out searching all day Monday. The sheriff says the cold weather and water temperature pose challenges for searchers, so does the area itself. Feeter was last seen wearing an YMCA shirt and shorts." - WTVD-TV (Raleigh-Durham, NC)
Feeter's put in area at Barton's Creek was just a few miles south of some of my favorite paddling "haunts" - Beaver Dam Lake and Sandling Beach - both on Falls Lake.
Fellow yakers and canoeists... please exercise caution and err on the side of safety when it comes to paddling - especially in cold weather!
Some Basic Paddling Safety Tips
Don't paddle alone
Always wear a PFD
Dress for cold water immersion (Dry suit) - Water temperatures at Falls Lake (January / February) are in the upper 30 degrees F. In these conditions, hypothermia will quickly set in followed by death for an unprotected individual who falls into these waters.
Check out my Cold Water Survival information and my list of essential gear.
This tragic event has left me a little shaken and sad for a fellow yaker. My thoughts and prayers are with the Feeter family.
Post Update (2/3/2011)
Greg Feeter's body was found shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday [2/2/2011] near the Upper Barton Creek Boat Ramp. Feeter leaves behind a wife and 5 year old daughter.