A massive search effort is underway this evening for missing kayaker on Flathead Lake.
The search started late Saturday night near Bear Harbor Condo in Polson Bay after a 43-year-old Polson man failed to return home from an afternoon kayak trip on the water.
On Sunday afternoon, there were three county owned boats doing grid searches in Polson and Skidoo Bay. There were also two search dogs on board one of the boats to try and pick up the kayaker's scent.
Earlier Sunday two helicopters from the Flathead scoured the water overhead with no signs of the missing man. Officials say he was not wearing a life jacket.
"The boats out on the water, we're asking people we come in contact with to keep an eye out for the kayak," said Karen Sargeant of the Lake County Sheriff's Department. "This small of a kayak and the type of kayak that it is doesn't stay afloat like some of your larger longer touring kayaks."
The following is a press release from the Lake County Sheriff's Office for more information:
On 7/19/14, at approximately 11:15 PM, the Lake County Dispatch received a report of an overdue kayaker on Flathead Lake in Polson Bay. Lake County Search and Rescue (SAR) was immediately activated and by 11:25 PM, had two Search and Rescue boats and one private SAR member's boat running grid searches in Polson Bay, Skidoo Bay and the Flathead River downstream to the dam. At around 1:00 AM on 7/20/14, ALERT helicopter arrived on scene to assist in the search using their belly mounted light system. At around 2:45 AM, Flathead County Sheriff's Office helicopter arrived on scene to assist using their infrared unit. Both helicopters searched Polson Bay, Skidoo Bay and the Flathead River to the dam. The search was called off at approximately 3:30 AM to be resumed at first light this morning.
This morning, at 7:00 AM, Lake County SAR with two SAR boats, a private SAR member's boat and the Lake County Sheriff's Office boat resumed searching using a tighter grid pattern. Both helicopters also returned at 8:30 AM to resume searching also in a tighter grid pattern. Additionally, at approximately 9:00 AM, the Swan Unit of the Lake County SAR arrived with four personal watercraft to search all shorelines in the search area. After being unsuccessful, the helicopters left the scene at around 11:30 AM this morning. The Swan Unit SAR was off the water at around 1:30 PM. The two Lake County SAR boats and the Lake County Sheriff's office boat remain searching at this time. The Lake County Sheriff's boat is carrying three SAR personnel with two search dogs.
The male subject left from the Bear harbor Condominiums at approximately 12:00 PM in a yellow, Eclipse, cockpit kayak with a paddle that has a black shaft with white paddles with the logo "Aquaboard". At around 12:30 PM, the kayaker texted a photo of the condos from approximately ½ to 1 mile from shore in Polson Bay. The male is described as a white male, 43 years of age, 5' 9" tall, weighing 185 lbs. with gray hair and blue eyes. It is unknown what he was wearing other than shorts and may have been shirtless and shoeless. He was not wearing a personal floatation device.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone seeing either the male subject, yellow kayak or the paddle, please contact the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 911 or 883-7301