Kayaker Drowns on North Fork of the Payette

Was familiar with the river

A North Carolina man drowned Wednesday evening while kayaking with friends on the North Fork of the Payette River in western Idaho. Twenty-two-year-old Eric Weigel seemed to have been knocked unconscious when his kayak flipped in rough rapids. Weigel had been wearing a full-face helmet. His friends tried to give him CPR, but he was trapped underwater for several minutes before they could reach him.

The group had been on their last day of a three-week whitewater-rafting trip. They were familiar with the river and had taken all necessary safety precautions. “It’s just one of those freak accidents,” said Lieutenant Dan Smith of the Valley County Sheriff’s Office.

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