Search for missing Limestone County kayaker now recovery effort

The kayaker was identified as 39-year-old Michael Rynders of Athens.

Posted: Jul 4, 2019 2:59 PM
Updated: Jul 4, 2019 9:14 PM

UPDATE: Rescue officials say the search for 39-year-old Michael Rynders of Athens is now a recovery effort. 

WAAY 31 spoke with folks who spend time on the water where Rynders vanished.

From Brian Lamar

“We’ll be spending our 4th of July out here. Basically, all day long," Clint Pendley said.

Pendley and his son are out on the Elk River as often as they can be.

“Just love being out in the sun, being outdoors, spending family time," he said.

So, when Pendley heard a man went missing while kayaking on the river Wednesday night, he says it could’ve easily been one of them.

“We have friends who own kayaks and they kayak with us," he said.

And the Pendleys weren’t the only ones shocked by the news.

“I was talking to my son about it. He and his boys kayak a little bit," mark Vickers said. "I’ve tried them and I do just fine in the kayak, but every time I try to get out of one, I flip it.”

According to officials, Michael Rynders was kayaking with his girlfriend when his kayak capsized.

His girlfriend heard him yell, turned around, and he was gone.

“There are a lot of stumps and when the water gets shallow, you can hit a stump and roll over and hit your head pretty quick," Pendley said.

It’s unclear what exactly happened to Rynders, but dive teams were using sonar equipment and cadaver dogs to find him on Thursday.

After hearing about this tragic accident, Pendley said he’ll be extra careful when out on the water.

“You always have to make sure you have a life jacket for everyone accounted for," he said. "Stay aware and observant of the dangers that are around you.”

In the meantime, Pendley said he is thinking about Rynders' family.

“We’ll be praying for the famil," he said. "Everything they’re going through. I can’t imagine.”

“Beautiful day, great holiday. Sad time to lose a family member," Vickers added.

We're told Rynders wasn't wearing a life jacket while kayaking. His girlfriend says he is former military and an excellent swimmer.

Sgt. Chad Pate with Marine Patrol-Northern District says Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Marine Patrol, the Limestone County Sheriff's Office, Rogersville Rescue Squad, Killen Rescue Squad, Owen Rescue Squad and Athens/Limestone County Rescue Squad are involved in the search.

Crews will do a debrief at 4:45 p.m. Thursday and then stop search efforts for the day at 5 p.m. They don’t want anyone out in the dark searching.

---------------

(7/3/19 at 11 p.m.)

The Limestone County Sheriff's Office says a man in his thirties is missing in the Elk River, near Sportsman Park in Limestone County.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says the search and investigation are ongoing. The agency says the missing boater was kayaking along with another kayaker, when his kayak capsized.

The search is ending for Wednesday night around 11 p.m., and crews will begin searching again at 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

The man and his girlfriend were kayaking when she heard him yell. She said she turned around and he was gone. She told the sheriff's office the kayak was there, but he wasn’t. 

(7/3/19 at 9:15 p.m.)

Emergency crews are responding to Elk River Mills Road after a call came in at 7:56 p.m. on Wednesday about a boat that is possibly in distress or that was involved in a collision, Steven Young with the Limestone County Sheriff's Office said. 

The Owens Volunteer Fire Department, the Limestone County Rescue Squad and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's Marine Patrol Troopers were dispatched to the scene. WAAY 31 has a reporter on the way to the scene and is working to gather more information.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 45°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 43°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 42°
Fort Payne
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 779449

Reported Deaths: 11501
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby876181509
Davidson81809871
Knox46250587
Hamilton40539463
Rutherford38563386
Williamson25382204
Sumner21448318
Montgomery17484213
Out of TN1706694
Wilson16510211
Unassigned15772127
Sullivan14431274
Blount14141183
Bradley12996141
Washington12818234
Maury12246163
Sevier12109164
Putnam10635170
Madison10123230
Robertson8997121
Hamblen8063165
Anderson8044158
Greene7309145
Tipton6962103
Coffee6418115
Dickson6256106
Gibson6196141
Cumberland6127122
Carter5990155
McMinn594592
Roane592696
Bedford5816120
Loudon571966
Jefferson5688119
Lawrence557483
Monroe536590
Warren532576
Hawkins527195
Dyer5242101
Franklin475785
Fayette468372
Obion436995
Lincoln415662
Rhea415273
Cocke401295
Cheatham394544
Marshall391956
Campbell381859
Weakley379359
Giles375297
Henderson362273
Carroll349181
White339366
Hardeman338864
Macon337273
Hardin331563
Lauderdale309642
Henry301275
Marion294744
Scott288144
Wayne287630
Overton285557
Claiborne283069
McNairy268353
Hickman266541
DeKalb266151
Haywood264960
Smith256936
Grainger244246
Trousdale239822
Morgan230338
Fentress229544
Johnson217138
Chester202348
Bledsoe201010
Crockett197547
Unicoi181447
Polk177722
Cannon176730
Union173033
Grundy169730
Lake167926
Sequatchie157327
Humphreys154921
Decatur153837
Benton151039
Lewis147425
Meigs126722
Jackson125634
Stewart124025
Clay107130
Houston103632
Perry103527
Moore94516
Van Buren79720
Pickett74623
Hancock49712

Community Events