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Officials suspend underwater search for missing Bismarck kayaker

Officials suspend underwater search for missing Bismarck kayaker

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Rescue teams have suspended the underwater search for a Bismarck kayaker missing since Saturday but will continue the effort by air.

Emergency responders have focused the search for 41-year-old Joby Seagren in the Kimball Bottoms area, said Burleigh County Sheriff’s Major Gary Schaffer, who is also commander of the Burleigh County Water Rescue Team. Other people in Seagren’s party called authorities after they noticed that his kayak was partially submerged. None of them could pinpoint where he disappeared, which makes the search effort -- already hampered by river current and underwater entanglements -- more difficult, Schaffer said.

Rescue workers used sonar equipment, searched on foot and used a drone and North Dakota Highway Patrol airplane. The search ended at dark Saturday and resumed Sunday morning, with expanded attempts north and south of the area already searched. High winds prevented the use of drones Sunday and the underwater effort was called off after 14 hours of searching.

“It’s really tough when you have to tell the family you’re suspending the search,” Schaffer said. “I wish we had better news for them.”

The aerial search of shorelines from the Highway Patrol plane will continue each morning and evening, the major said.

About 20 responders from the sheriff’s department, the Highway Patrol and area rural search and rescue squads contributed to the search effort, Schaffer said.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or


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