Lexington kayaker dies in North Carolina River

July 7, 2013 

A 36-year-old Lexington man died while kayaking in a storm-swollen river in the mountains of North Carolina.

Authorities recovered the body of Richard Scott Bradfield late Friday, a day after he disappeared during an outing on the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River with a half-dozen other kayakers.

Investigators say Bradfield's kayak capsized, then he popped up and was swept away in the fast-flowing river in Pisgah National Forest. Some areas of the mountains had had more than 8 inches of rain in recent days. It took rescuers about a day to recover Bradfield's body because of heavy rain and rough terrain.

Bradfield, a member of Bluegrass Wildwater Association, was respected for his kayaking skills, members of the group said Sunday.

"He was an expert paddler and he was with a group of expert paddlers. They used every safety measure available," member Linda Tribble said. "Kayakers take precautions. But stuff happens, and water is powerful."

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