UPDATE: Kayaker ID'ed after fatal accident on Lake Junior - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Kayaker ID'ed after fatal accident on Lake Junior

Posted: Updated:
Photo by WRCB reporter Josh Rhoden. Photo by WRCB reporter Josh Rhoden.
Photo by WRCB reporter Josh Rhoden. Photo by WRCB reporter Josh Rhoden.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says that 53-year-old Robert Perry died Tuesday after he and a friend were kayaking in Lake Junior near the Chickamauga Dam.

Perry's body was recovered about 8:00pm in about six feet of water in the lake. He was not wearing a PFD (personal flotation device) according to the TWRA. The TWRA is waiting for the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's report to confirm his cause of death.

Perry's friend said they both left the shore in their kayaks, going in different directions. When the friend looked back for Perry, he found Perry's kayak overturned and no sign of him. The friend then called 911.

"We have conflicting accounts from family as to whether or not he could swim, so frankly we don't know about that either," said Bruce Garner with the Chattanooga Fire Department.

The sign near the small lake's entrance says the area is only open on weekends from January through April. The road leading to the lake was chained closed.
    
For many outdoor enthusiasts, hearing of a life lost in the water is hard.

"It's sad, it's disheartening," said Schandra 'Sunshine' Loveless, "My heart goes out to the family and the friends of the victim."

The employees at Outdoor Chattanooga work to educate and train people of all abilities to use kayak's safely and with confidence.

"There's a need, because anybody can buy a boat, but we want to make sure people are using them safely and live to paddle another day," Loveless said.

No matter your level of experience, Loveless says to have a plan, bring a cell phone in a waterproof bag in case of an emergency, and always wear a lifejacket.

"When in doubt, make sure you're wearing that flotation device, because if something happens medically to you, at least you know you're gonna float," she added.

Outdoor Chattanooga employees see a need for safety classes for all types of water sports in the area.

They will offer Paddle Smart Chattanooga classes, open to the public, on Tuesday June 14 & 28 from 5:30 - 7:30. The class costs $25 per person. For more information call (423) 643 - 6888.


PREVIOUS STORY: A fishing trip in a lake off Amnicola Highway turned deadly Tuesday evening.

Hamilton County rescue crews found the body of a missing fisherman in Lake Junior around 8:00 p.m. after searching for more than two hours.

Officials tell Channel 3 the two men were fishing in separate kayaks. Officials say as one of the men was paddling out into the lake, he turned around to find his friend's kayak overturned in the water with his hat and other belongings floating on the surface of the water.

Officials say the fisherman was 53 years old.

Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner says the body has been sent to the Medical Examiner's Office for an official cause of death.

His name has not been released at this time.

The search required officials to closed the Amnicola southbound exit ramp from Highway 153.

All roads and the exit ramp have reopened.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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