Search for kayaker missing on the Crystal River near Redstone comes up empty

A search for a missing kayaker in Pitkin County on Friday came up empty — searchers found the kayak but not the missing Roaring Fork Valley man.

At about 9:25 p.m. Thursday, the county’s regional emergency dispatch center received a 911 call about a lost kayaker in the Crystal River near Redstone, according to a news release. The 41-year-old kayaker, who volunteers for Mountain Rescue Aspen, was with a group of three when his watercraft overturned in a section of river known as the “Meatgrinder” and he was separated from the kayak.

“Meatgrinder is a fast-paced, steep, and technical rapid located on the Crystal River just north of Redstone,” the release said.

Starting at about 8 a.m. Friday, the sheriff’s office, Carbondale Rural Fire Protection District and volunteers with Mountain Rescue Aspen searched the area of the kayaker’s last known location and along the river’s bank from Redstone to Penny Hot Springs. A search crew on foot located the kayak. A drone was also used in the search. The kayaker was not found.

“The water levels of the Crystal River are currently high and heavy,” the sheriff’s office said.  “Conditions in and around the river are dangerous to the public and rescue personnel.”

Search and rescue personnel will reassess the situation on Saturday, the release said.

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