The search continues

Rescuers use sonar to try and find missing kayaker

-Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Hans Madsen A crew from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources searches just below the Hydroelectric Dam Tuesday morning for a kayaker missing in the water since Monday.

FORT DODGE – Rescuers continued their search of the Des Moines River Tuesday after a kayaker was swept away by the current Monday afternoon.

The kayaker, who has not been identified by officials, was in a kayak that capsized around 3:30 p.m. Monday while he and his wife were in the Des Moines River at the bottom of the Hydroelectric Dam.

Fort Dodge Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter said Tuesday’s search was focused on an area between the Hydroelectric Dam and the dam located just under the Kenyon Road Bridge, commonly called the Little Dam.

Three boats were in the water; one from the Fort Dodge Fire Department and two from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Sonar was being used by the DNR officers.

“They have sonar that can help identify objects under water, so we’re looking on the surface and they’ll also be using those two sonar units to be looking under the water surface,” Hergenreter said.

The main focus of rescuers was near the Hawkeye Avenue Bridge, which was the last area the man was seen. According to Hergenreter, he was last spotted about 100 yards from where he capsized.

DNR and Fire Department boats could be spotted searching the area between the Hawkeye Avenue Bridge and the Hydroelectric Dam. At one point, the boats appeared to search Soldier Creek, which goes into the Des Moines River.

The chief added that rescuers were planning on searching until about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday due to the possibility of severe weather. He said the search will resume first thing Wednesday morning.

Rescuers will be helped today by a new tool from out-of-state.

“We’ve got another resource from Illinois,” Hergenreter said. “A boat that has higher-resolution sonar capability is coming from Illinois.”

That should arrive in Fort Dodge in the late morning to join in the search.

In addition, today’s search area will expand to include Dolliver Memorial State Park all the way up to the Little Dam.

The DNR will be handling that leg of the search.

The man and his wife were kayaking in separate kayaks Monday afternoon when both capsized. The man’s wife was able to swim to shore, but the man was swept away.

Hergenreter stressed that there is no need for search volunteers and asked that the public stay away from the search areas.