Authorities believe body of missing kayaker has been found

Emergency crews on scene of where a missing kayaker may have been found in the Maumee River near Kreager Park on Friday, June 26, 2015.

FORT WAYNE, Ind (WANE) – The body of a man believed to be a kayaker missing since Tuesday evening was pulled from the Maumee River Friday morning by members of the New Haven Fire Department just east of the Kreager Park boat ramp, about three miles away from where the search began.

The body matched the description of Sean Hiebel, 24, of Fort Wayne and a positive identification will be made during an autopsy scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department initiated the search around 9 p.m. Tuesday when a jogger saw three kayakers go over the Hosey Dam, near North Anthony Boulevard. Two of the kayakers were safely rescued, but Hiebel was not found.

Flyer sent to NewsChannel 15 of Sean Hiebel, a kayaker who went missing on June 23, 2015.
Flyer sent to NewsChannel 15 of Sean Hiebel, a kayaker who went missing on June 23, 2015.

“We all decided collectively that we should be expanding our search efforts based on the amount of time that has passed,” FWFD Chief of Special Operations Tim Maloney said.

The search for Heibel came to an end after more than 48 hours Friday morning when a body was spotted just east of the boat ramp.

“New Haven officers, who have been assisting the entire time, put a boat a boat on this morning and at 7:56 New Haven Fire Department recovered the victim,” Conservation Officer Rodney Clear said.

Weather and the fast current forced crews to stay in their boats to search for Hiebel the past few days.

“When the river is moving three times faster than was is allowable for a subsurface diver we cannot get in the water, so everything remains surface inspections,” Maloney said.

Hiebel’s family has been notified.

“There is a lot of grief these past three days and they are going to need a lot of support from their family and friends who have been with them the entire time,” Clear said.

Friends posted flyers in hopes he had managed to survive going over the dam.


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