Five Kayakers Missing in Tajikistan

Searching the Balandkiik River


For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.

Five kayakers are reported missing on the Balandkiik River in eastern Tajikistan. Ben Luck, Cooper Lambla, Matt Klema, Nate Klema, and Charles King triggered the emergency signal on their SPOT beacon at some point on Monday, September 30. (Ben Luck and Nate and Matt Klema were featured as Outside’s Adventurers of the Year for 2011.) The GPS coordinates were 38.83227 N, 72.860240 E.

On Tuesday, during a helicopter rescue attempt, a search team discovered a broken kayak with a backpack on it. Immediately after that sighting, another SOS signal was sent 6 miles downstream, although the search mission could not continue due to looming nightfall. The helicopter search was set to resume Wednesday morning.

Ben Luck’s friend posted on MTBR’s forum, soliciting help from any “hiker, kayaker, mountain biker, or other tourist who might be in the area or have knowledge of the area would be able to lend a hand.” Anyone with information regarding the missing kayakers is asked to reach out immediately.

promo logo