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Kayaker dies after falling into Yaak River

by The Western News
| May 9, 2022 8:00 AM

A 50-year-old Idaho man died after falling out of his kayak on the Yaak River near Troy on Sunday.

Local authorities said they found the body of Steven Koning in the nearby Kootenai River near the state line between Idaho and Montana about 3:33 p.m., May 8. Koning was kayaking with three others when he fell overboard earlier in the day, said officials with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Search and rescue teams began combing the area for Koning after receiving an SOS message from a GPS device in the Yaak River area about 12:19 p.m. While the individual donning the GPS was fine, he and his companions alerted authorities to the missing man after reaching a phone.

The group was kayaking three or four miles north of where the Yaak River flows into the Kootenai when they hit a rough stretch of water, officials said. Although they tried to help Koning, he slipped beneath the water and they lost sight of him.

David Thompson Search and Rescue, Troy Volunteer Ambulance and Two Bear Air Rescue assisted the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in the search.

The Yaak River near Troy approached its 8-foot flood stage over the weekend, according to USGS data. The river peaked at just over 7.5 feet, which is considered "action level." Moderate flooding occurs at 9 feet.

Projections show the river level declining to about 6.5 feet by May 12.