Bozeman man dies in kayak accident

Photo Courtesy Gallatin County Sheriff's Office

Local authorities are investigating the cause of death for a man who died over the weekend in a kayaking accident.

The accident was reported just before noon Sunday at the diversion dam near the Williams Bridge on the Jefferson River.

At this point officials aren’t sure what happened and are calling it an accident. They suspect 72-year-old Bruce Vanlandingham of Bozeman had some kind of medical episode while on the water.

He did not respond to CPR when crews found him unconscious on a sandbar after reports Vanlandingham’s kayak overturned.

Search and rescue crews want to remind floaters that accidents can happen even in the calmest of waters.

“Kayaking, especially around these waters, are kind of an expert's sport. That stretch of river is not terribly sophisticated, so that's what makes us suspicious that something else happened, and by reports he was a very competent boater,” said Captain Jason Jarrett, with Gallatin Search and Rescue.

Jarrett said even in calm waters the water can be unpredictable and fast.

Officials advise floaters to always wear life vests and to carry mobile devices with them in waterproof bags.

More about the cause of his death is expected to be known toward the end of the week.

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