Officials identify man killed in kayaking accident in Little River Canyon


FORT PAYNE, Ala. – The body of a man killed in a kayaking accident in Little River Canyon has been recovered on Sunday, according to the Dekalb County Coroner.

The Dekalb County Coroner identified the man as Chip Sizemore, 41, of Sylvania.

Matt Switzer with the National Park Service said recovery efforts resumed Sunday morning at 7 a.m.

Due to favorable weather conditions, rescue personnel was able to reach the victim at 11:10 a.m. and an ALEA helicopter was able to remove the victim from the canyon at 12:13 p.m., according to authorities.

Over 40 first responders from 10 different agencies were involved in the rescue turned recovery mission, according to Switzer.

According to an updated Facebook post, Little River Canyon Rim Parkway was closed around 7 a.m. between County Road 255 and Graces High Falls as first responders resumed the search.

Another Facebook post also stated an ALEA helicopter from Montgomery assisted in the recovery.

Switzer said Sizemore was killed after he was pinned under a rock in the river.

Authorities said the 911 call came in at 11:38 a.m. on Saturday.

The National Park Service, Alabama State Troopers, Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office, Dekalb County EMA, and multiple other agencies responded to the call.

Switzer said due to the rugged terrain it was hard for agencies to gain access to the river; however, Fischer Rescue Squad and Fort Payne Fire Department eventually did.

Authorities said at 1:35 p.m. the efforts changed from rescue to recovery.

At 4:00 p.m. the recovery was suspended until Sunday due to weather conditions causing the river to rise, according to authorities.

According to a Facebook post by Little River Canyon National Preserve made Saturday afternoon, part of Little River Canyon Rim Parkway was closed from County Road 255 (between Canyon View and Wolf Creek overlooks) to Graces High Falls.

The post reads that the closed areas may shift at any time due to changing conditions.

Officials ask you to avoid the area.

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