The body of a kayaker has been found in a river near Inverness, Scotland, in what is thought to be the first fatality linked to Storm Frank. The man, in his 50s, was seen getting into difficulty while navigating a treacherous stretch of the River Findhorn at around 12.30pm yesterday (30 December 2015).
An emergency search operation was launched, but had to be called off as the light faded. Police Scotland confirmed that the man's body was recovered from the river at about 9am today.
A police spokesman said: "Police Scotland can now sadly confirm that about 09:00 hours today, the body of the male kayaker, who was in his 50s, has been recovered from the river Findhorn with the assistance of HM Coastguard River Team. The man's next of kin have been made aware. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal as is standard practice in these circumstances."
The kayaker was seen getting into difficulty near an area known as Elephant Rock. It is believed his clothing became snagged on tree branches after he fell into the river, according to The Press and Journal. He was reportedly with a party of experienced kayakers who sounded the alarm when they saw him in difficulty. The rescue team encountered difficult conditions when trying to reach the man, however, and reportedly had to abandon the search at about 5pm. It is believed an attending ambulance also had to be dislodged when it became embedded in mud after arriving on the scene.
It comes as flood warnings remain in place at a number of locations across Scotland following the passing of Storm Frank. Footage posted online yesterday shows just how treacherous the River Findhorn had become following the extreme weather. The river is popular with thrill-seekers who regularly take part in white-water rafting and kayaking on the fast-flowing rapids. But it has also developed a fearsome reputation following a number of fatalities.
In March, the body of 19-year-old Matthew Crosbie was found after he attempted to swim across the same river at Randolph's Leap. A 39-year-old man also died after falling into the same stretch of river two years ago.