High mountain stream in Tajikistan
High mountain stream in Tajikistan (Anton Ruiter/Flickr)

Missing Kayakers Found in Tajikistan

Five men in good condition

High mountain stream in Tajikistan

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Five Kayakers reported missing in Tajikistan have been found and evacuated. Ben Luck, Cooper Lambla, Matt Klema, Nate Klema, and Charles King were airlifted by helicopter and taken to Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe on Thursday.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that one of the kayakers in the group suffered a broken leg but that the four other men were in good health. 

From Matt and Nate Klema’s brother, Tom:

After four days of anxious but persistent work to make contact with the five kayakers in Tajikistan, a helicopter landed at 2pm Thursday in a river valley in the Pamir Mountains and evacuated Ben Luck. He was suffering from hypothermia and altitude sickness, and was carried out over a 16,000 pass by the other four boaters. Those four left their boating gear at the Mukshu River, and are returning to continue with running that five day component of their six month kayak expedition throughout Central Asia.

Dushanbe-based rescue teams were initially delayed in responding to the group’s October 1 SPOT emergency signal due to an equipment malfunction.

According to the Durango Herald, the group on a lengthy expedition through Eurasia and had already spent two months paddling in Siberia and Kyrgyzstan. The men were also planning to explore India and China before returning to the United States in December. 

Update: Ben Luck does not have a broken leg but is suffering from hypothermia and altitude sickness according to Matt Wilson, a close friend of the kayakers. 

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: Anton Ruiter/Flickr

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