Search underway for man who fell off kayak in Miss. River near Hahnville

Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 10:33 AM CDT
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HAHNVILLE, La. (WVUE) - Search efforts are set to resume Tuesday morning for a man who disappeared while kayaking in the Mississippi River in St. Charles Parish.

According to the sheriff’s office, Melvin Phillip Emde, 41, from Talihina, Oklahoma, was reported missing by a family member after he was seen falling overboard while kayaking in the river near Matis Road in Hahnville.

Melvin Phillip Emde was seen falling overboard while kayaking on the Mississippi River just...
Melvin Phillip Emde was seen falling overboard while kayaking on the Mississippi River just after midnight on Aug. 7.(SCPSO)

The incident happened just after midnight on Mon., Aug. 7.

The Sheriff’s Office told Fox 8 that Emde was fishing with his 18-year-old son who was in another kayak when the son told deputies his dad fell out of the kayak and into the water.

That’s when the son said he called police.

The search in Saint Charles Parish went on Monday for nearly 17 hours and required a dive team, along with sonar equipment, a small boat, a K9 officer, and a drone.

The Coast Guard’s helicopter also assisted in the search earlier in the day.

Aaron Paige has lived in the area his whole life and owns some of the surrounding property.

“[I]f you not from down here, well if you’re from down here, you know you pretty much know not to get in the water or let alone in a small boat without a motor,” said Aaron Paige. “[L]ife jackets, keep them on if you do go in the water but you know I’d stay out of it.”

Paige is a deckhand and said he knows the waters very well.

“If we look at the water right here, it looks like nothing ... like a pond or a stream, but if you get on the other side of the barges, it gets deeper and there’s pull from more gravity. the current is super strong,” said Paige.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Joshua Deroche at 985-783-6807 or 985-783-1135.

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