LANSING (WWJ) – Authorities say the search for a missing kayaker who fell into the Grand River in Lansing has turned into a recovery effort.

First responders were called around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to the Brenke Fish Ladder where the 24-year-old man had been reported going into the river, but only a kayak and paddle were located.

Efforts to find the man, who was not wearing a life jacket, were not successful.

“We had a total of three boats (searching), and they found nothing,” Lansing Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Steve Mazurek told WWJ’s Beth Fisher. “So after about an hour, the dive team took the scene over and determined at that point in time it would be a recovery instead of a rescue, since we were unable to locate him.”

Mazurek said the high and fast waters from recent flooding are only complicating matters.

“The river is moving very, very fast and is still at about 9 feet. Our flood stage, I believe it ended up cresting the other day at 14 feet. So, it has gone down considerably but it still is moving very, very fast,” he said.

usatsi 10642911 Authorities Search For Missing Kayaker In Grand River

The dam near the Brenke Fish Ladder in Old Town is not visible due to flooding and high water levels. (photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via USA TODAY NETWORK)

The effort, which was called off around 8 p.m. for safety reasons, is expected to resume Wednesday.

“We had a lot of people on the shoreline throughout this whole incident — bystanders, the police department — looking for the individual. Nobody ever saw him,” said Mazurek. “The last known sighting is where they’re concentrating their recovery efforts this morning.”

The man’s name wasn’t immediately released.

Mazurek is urging the public to stay away from the river until the water recedes back to normal levels.

“There is so much debris in the river right now, debris piles, and you can get easily hung up and pulled under,” he said. “If you’re going to be near the river or on the river, please have a personal flotation device. It is your only defense.”

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