20-Year-Old Dead After Family Kayaking Outing at Oklahoma Lake ‘Turned into a Tragedy’

Oklahoma officials said they recovered the body of Brendan Arrington, 20, on Tuesday, May 21 just after 8 p.m. local time

<p>GoFundMe</p> Brendan Arrington


Brendan Arrington

A 20-year-old man was found dead after a kayaking trip with his family to Lake Carl Blackwell in Oklahoma went awry.

The Oklahoma State University (OSU) Police Department said that Brendan Arrington, 20, was reported missing on Sunday, May 19 at around 4 p.m. local time after going kayaking with his parents, according to the Kansas City Star, KOTV and KOCO-TV.

Brendan’s father Joshua Combs shared on GoFundMe that the family had decided to go to Carl Blackwell lake for a “family fun day which turned into a tragedy.” He said their son jumped into a kayak and “took off,” though the family wasn’t worried at the time because he was a “good swimmer" and "smart as a whip.”

Combs said he checked on his son 20 minutes later to find him “in the middle of the lake,” which led him to believe that Arrington would have difficulty returning due to the wind. When he checked on him again 30 minutes later, he said he lost sight of his son and hopped in his own kayak to find him.

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However, Combs had to be rescued by the Stillwater Fire Department due to the “brutal” winds, and he and the rescue crews combined efforts to search for the 20-year-old.

OSU Police Capt. Dan Ray told KOCO-TV they finally found Brendan’s kayak after 30 minutes of searching.

“We did find the kayak that he was in, and it was full of water," Ray added to the outlet. “We were told he did not have a lifejacket with him."

“At this point I am freaking out there's the kayak, where the hell's my son?” Combs recalled on GoFundMe. “I start running up and down the shore looking for footprints, any sign that he got out of the water, but there was absolutely nothing. No footprints, no paddle, no speaker, no phone, no sign of life.”

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OSU police department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Stillwater Fire Department and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation aided in the search, which was halted on Sunday night due to severe storms, according to KOTV and KOCO-TV.

Combs said on Monday that the search continued with thermal scanning drones and a dive team utilizing "expensive sonar equipment."

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It wasn’t until Tuesday, May 21 at around 8 p.m., that Oklahoma Highway Patrol recovered Arrington's body from the lake, KOTV reported. OSU Police told the outlet that he likely fell out of his kayak and never resurfaced from the water.

In an update on GoFundMe, Combs shared that they were “still not sure what exactly happened out there” to the 20-year-old and that he had hoped that his son had been “unconscious prior to drowning.”

“Your continued prayers and support are greatly appreciated,” he added.

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