Kayaker’s body found in Kiwassa

SARANAC LAKE — The body of an Albany-area kayaker who went missing Friday night on Kiwassa Lake was found late Sunday morning.

A state police dive team located Keaven W. Green, 66, of Watervliet, around 11:30 a.m. in 28 feet of water, according to state police Capt. Robert LaFountain. He said an autopsy is scheduled to take place today at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

Ken McLaughlin, captain of the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department dive team, said the department was contacted around 7 a.m. Saturday about a possible missing person on Kiwassa Lake — a man staying with friends at Cochran’s Cabins who apparently went out in a kayak on Friday night and didn’t come back.

Green was last seen Friday evening, La Fountain said. The following morning, his friends noticed he was missing and called 911 after they found his kayak, paddle and life jacket floating in the water.

Firefighters, state police and state forest rangers were among those who responded initially, McLaughlin said. He said searchers set up a grid, marked with buoys, based on where the life jacket, paddle and kayak were found.

“It was a grid that was about half the lake,” McLaughlin said. “We used our underwater cameras for searching, the forest rangers did some dragging, and our guys as well as forest rangers walked the complete shore in the area we were looking at.”

Heavy rain and thunderstorms hampered the search effort on Saturday, although McLaughlin said fire department divers were able to get in the water along the shoreline. A state police dive team did some searching underwater while being pulled behind a fire department boat. The day ended, however, without finding Green.

On Sunday, state police brought in sonar equipment and used it to search the same grid while fire department divers searched along the shoreline, McLaughlin said.

“It was around noon that they got a sonar hit,” he said. “They suited up two divers and were able to recover his body and bring it to the shore.”

Keough said he pronounced Green dead at 12:05 p.m. The body was transported to the hospital for today’s autopsy, which will be performed by Dr. C Francis Varga.

McLaughlin said state police interviewed several people as part of their investigation of the incident. LaFountain said no foul play is suspected.

“The circumstances surrounding how this occurred will remain under investigation,” he said. “If anybody has any information or may have seen him and have not spoken to the police at this point, they are asked to contact state police in Ray Brook.”

A state police helicopter, state Department of Environmental Conservation officers and the Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad also responded to the incident.

“I don’t think you could have had much more equipment or better cooperation from the agencies that we had,” McLaughlin said. “It was a great combined effort.

“We know the family now at least has some closure, although it’s not the kind of closure you’d like.”

This is the second apparent drowning in the area in roughly a week. On Monday of last week, an Ithaca man went missing while swimming with friends at the Wilmington Flume in the West Branch of the AuSable River. Searchers found the body of Matthew Miller, 31, of Ithaca, in the river the following day.