Robert Swantak
Missing kayaker Robert Swantak (please click on photo for higher resolution image -- larger file)

Lt. Todd Bogardus: (603) 271-3361
Major Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129 
May 2, 2008            

Search Continues for Missing Connecticut River Kayaker

CONCORD, N.H. -- A search for a missing 58-year-old kayaker from Vermont will continue today on the Connecticut River in Piermont, N.H.  On Thursday, May 1, 2008, Robert Swantak of Bradford, Vermont, set out in his kayak on the Waits River in Bradford, Vermont, and then onto the Connecticut River in Piermont, N.H. for an afternoon of fiddlehead picking.  Vermont and New Hampshire authorities were notified in the evening of May 1 that Swantak had not returned from his river trip.

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers, Vermont State Police, Vermont Fish and Wildlife game wardens and the New Hampshire State Police helicopter searched the Connecticut and Waits rivers between Orford, N.H. and Bradford, Vermont, yesterday evening from the air, by boat and on land.  Search crews found an orange kayak belonging to Swantak, with a life preserver attached to it, floating upside down on the Connecticut River in Orford, N.H., a few miles downriver of Swantak's intended destination.

The search was suspended after midnight, and search crews from New Hampshire and Vermont are again searching the Connecticut and Waits Rivers today (May 2, 2008) in an effort to locate Swantak.  The river conditions at the time of Swantak's disappearance consisted of flood stage water levels, with swift current and lots of floating debris.  Swantak is described as an experienced kayaker who has paddled this section of the rivers numerous times over the past several years.

"As inviting as water sports may be, please take into consideration that high water levels from recent rains and snow melt, plus cold water temperatures, can create dangerous situations," said Lt. Todd Bogardus of N.H. Fish and Game Law Enforcement.  He also noted that for safety reasons the Department strongly recommends the use of an approved Personal Flotation Device when on the water.

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