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Kayaker Missing in Neuse River


SUNDAY 9 AM UPDATE: The search has been called off - after the missing kayaker was located at work in Youngsville, Franklin County, this morning. 

When Youngsville Police were able to talk to the man this morning, the man said he did not realize there had been a large search for him. He reported that after the canoe flipped and the woman on the kayak (the mother of the little girl) had jumped off to help, he had floated away from the group. In the dark, he got out of the kayak, got onto land, was able call for a ride and report for work at his early morning shift in Youngsville.

Clayton Police are working now to follow-up on this incident - what led up to the rescue and what happened afterward. Law enforcement say alcohol played a role.

Again, everyone in this river incident, including the child, are alive and ok.

A huge thanks to all those who responded and helped in the search from Johnston County to Wake to the state level! 

Archer Lodge Fire has just informed us that its Fire Department, along with the Johnston County Sheriff Office’s Swift Water Rescue team and K9 unit AND the Highway Patrol’s search helicopter will be back out at the river by 9 a.m. to resume the search for this man.

Clayton Fire and Police, of course, will join if we're needed.

They have not released the name of the kayaker at this time.

Crews may need to shut down Covered Bridge Road at the bridge where these search operations are re-staging, but we'll keep everyone posted.

2 a.m. Sunday, April 2 UPDATE:  Archer Lodge Fire Department has called off the search for the night so that teams can re-group in the morning with daylight. 


A large search is underway tonight for a man who was kayaking on the Neuse River with his family.

Archer Lodge Fire Department responded just after 9 pm on Saturday night to a 911 call that a canoe and/or kayak had overturned in the river and several people needed help. Clayton Fire Department and Clayton Police responded to assist. 

A man, woman, child and 2 dogs were able to get back in the canoe and rescuers were able to pull them to the banks near the Riverwood neighborhood.  The child, a young girl, was wearing a life vest at the time of the rescue.  

It’s believed the canoe had flipped because it hit a log underwater. 

Rescuers say there was also a kayak traveling with the canoe group carrying a second man and woman.  The woman, mother to the young girl in the canoe, jumped out of the kayak to help her child and she was able to swim to the river bank and get out of the water. 

It is the second adult male who was in the kayak who is still missing tonight.  The kayak was recovered but there was no sign of the man.  He is in his mid-20’s, but his name, age and hometown were not available at the time of this news release.  Rescuers cannot determine from the family if this missing kayaker was wearing a life vest. Family says he did not have a shirt on. 

The group first put in their canoe and kayak at Milburnie Road in Wake County and had planned to get out of the river in Johnston County at Castleberry Road and NC42E, where their vehicle was parked.

Covered Bridge Road (where it crosses the river near the Clayton River Walk on the Neuse greenway parking lot) remains closed at this hour to accommodate the search and rescue teams.  It’s at this bridge over the river where Archer Lodge Fire Department has set up the rescue command center. 

Archer Lodge Fire and Clayton Police/Fire have been joined by Johnston County and Wake County Sheriff’s Departments. Wake County deputies are using K-9 teams.  Also, a helicopter from the State Highway Patro helicopter that is equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), a night-vision, thermal imaging system, is aiding in the search.

Again, it was 4 adults (two men and two women), 1 child (a girl) and 2 dogs that needed to be rescued from the Neuse River – only the adult man in the kayak is still unaccounted for as of 1 am Sunday. 

We’ll share any updates we receive from the Archer Lodge Fire command center.  

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