Hunter rescued but kayak still missing

A stranded Augusta waterfowl hunter was rescued from the Savannah River shoals during the weekend after his kayak filled with water and was pushed downstream by unseasonably strong currents.

David Simmons, 42, had paddled upstream to a series of small islands in the river on Saturday – the opening day of Georgia’s waterfowl season.

The kayak was resting against a downed tree and filled with water. Mr. Simmons climbed out and tried to free the vessel, but the current pushed it under the log and it was swept downstream.

“All I could think of was, if I slipped, my waders would fill with water and I could get pinned under the log,” he said.

Although he was wearing a life jacket, he opted not to try to swim to shore and stayed on the island as darkness approached.

His cell phone, sealed in a zip-lock bag, was working. He called his wife, who connected him with a dispatcher from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

“They sent the fire department up on jet skis to get me,” he said. “They were really quick, and those guys were great. They took me back to my car.”

By the time the firefighters arrived upstream from Augusta, it was already dark, and a light application on Mr. Simmons’ cell phone enabled them to locate him.

His kayak, a khaki-colored 9.5-foot Featherlite Angler with an older model Winchester autoloader shotgun inside, was lost and has not been recovered. Anyone who locates the kayak can contact Mr. Simmons via email at davidlsimmons@gmail.com.

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