Missing Plum Kayakers Survive Night After Accident
A couple kayaking on the Kiski River Sunday survived the night after going missing by building a fire to stay warm.
A pair of Plum kayakers had a happy ending this morning after going missing on the Kiski River Sunday.
A couple — Zack Becker, 23, and Jaimie Simon, 22, — were reported missing by the third member of their kayaking party Sunday.
A resident of Avonmore found the missing couple Monday morning after seeing smoke from a fire they had built to stay warm overnight, according to Kiski Fire Chief Rich Frain.
The kayakers set off near the Conemaugh Dam and spent the afternoon on the river, he said.
They split up around the area of Avonmore, with the third kayaker, Becker's brother, going on ahead to meet at the Roaring Run trails in Kiski.
The couple never made it, though.
Kiski Township Fire Department searched the area until midnight on Sunday night and resumed Monday morning, Frain said.
They searched starting at 8 a.m. until receiving a call around 9 a.m. from Avonmore Life Savers EMS saying that the couple was found.
Simon's kayak had flipped, so she clung to a tree branch to stay afloat. Becker sank his kayak trying to help her, Frain said.
The Kiski, or Kiskiminetas, River, is a tributary of the Allegheny River and according to Frain is the third-fastest flowing river east of the Mississippi.
The current, combined with the river's high water level, caused the accident.
The couple managed to swim to shore despite the current, he said. They didn't find civilization, though. The pair was lost in the Avonmore woods.
They found a camper with a lighter inside and managed to build a fire to last the night, Frain said.
The resident who found them in the morning took them to Avonmore Life Savers where they were checked and released.
"They were fine," Frain said. "A little wet and tired."
"It's a happy ending," he said. "You don't get too many of those."