Missing Chetco River kayakers found

Update (11/23/16 4:50 p.m.) — Curry County Sheriff John Ward has released more details after two kayakers who were reported missing were found safe.

Sheriff Ward said the initial call came from David Formolo’s mother. She told CCSO her son along with Joseph Hatcher, both reportedly from Central Point, had failed to return home after a kayaking trip on the Chetco River. Deputies were told the pair had left on Sunday, November 20th and were scheduled to return on Monday–but they never showed.

Members of Curry County Search and Rescue responded and checked all access points to the river. They eventually found Hatcher’s vehicle parked along the river, about sixteen miles east of Brookings. The vehicle had been left at the “takeout point”, where the pair were expected to finish their kayaking trip.

The sheriff’s office said search and rescue members were unable to locate the second vehicle that Hatcher and Formolo had used to start their journey.

On Wednesday, November 23rd, search efforts resumed but they were hampered due to recent snow, according to CCSO. A helicopter company offered assistance, along with an SAR member with a homemade jet-boat. Just as the boat was launching and the helicopter arrived, Hatcher and Formolo floated around the corner of their planned take out area. They told rescuers they were okay, and they were delayed by water conditions. They also said they were never lost, but had to hike around areas of the river that were unpassable.


The Update (11/23/16) — Missing kayakers David Formolo and Joseph Hatcher have been found safe according to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.


Curry County, Ore. — The Curry County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed two kayakers have gone missing on the Chetco River.

Family said 25-year-old Medford resident David Formolo and 42-year-old Joseph Hatcher left on Sunday to kayak the Chetco River. Both were reportedly competent kaykers and had the appropriate gear for the weather, including dry suits. They planned to be off the river by Monday.

As of Wednesday morning, there has been no sign of the pair. Family said they are still confident they will make it out together.

Family said, “We appreciate the efforts of the Curry County Sherriff’s office, Curry County Search and Rescue, news media and the support of our friends and community.”

Curry County Sheriff John Ward is currently organizing a search effort, and was not available for comment.

NBC5 News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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