Second accident fatal for kayaker

January 23, 2007 11:00 pm

By Valliant Corley

Wescom News Service

GOLD BEACH, Ore. – The body of a Crescent City man was located Monday at Floras Creek, where he had been on a kayaking trip.

It was the second kayaking accident for Richard O. Buscho, 57, and his yellow lab, Fiona, in less than three months. Buscho and Fiona were rescued by the Coast Guard's Beach Rescue Crew stationed in the Port of Brookings Harbor in November.

This time, Buscho and Fiona left early Sunday to go kayaking in the Floras Lake, New River and New Lake area, near Langlois, Sheriff's Lieutenant Dennis Dinsmore said Monday. Lisa Buscho called the Curry County Sheriff's office Monday morning to report her husband was overdue.

She reported that her husband had been expected to return home late Sunday.

Curry County Marine Deputies located Buscho's vehicle in the parking lot at Boice-Cope County Park. Volunteer members of the Curry County Search and Rescue team, members of the Coos County Sheriff's Office Marine Division, and local ranchers in the area began searching the area.

The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station North Bend provided helicopter help in the search and reported about 1:40 p.m. they had located the kayak and dog, Dinsmore said.

Ground personnel were directed to the scene where Buscho's body was found and recovered from Floras Creek.

Buscho was wearing a personal flotation device when recovered.

An autopsy will be arranged by the Curry County Medical Examiner's Office to determine cause of death.

In November, Buscho's sea kayak capsized off Sporthaven Beach.

Then, Buscho and Fiona were both wearing life preservers.

Coast Guard officials observed Buscho rafting down the Chetco River around 3 p.m. and were concerned because of the day's strong river current. Master Chief John Dunn ordered a Coast Guard rescue vessel prepared, but Buscho had already been swept into the river's current.

"I got out beyond the bar," Buscho said following the rescue, "but I didn't intend to get out further than that.

"I decided to try and come in."

Personnel in the Coast Guard station tower lost sight of Buscho altogether.

"I had a gut feeling he had capsized," Dunn said.

Coast Guard rescue officers sailed out to Buscho as Cal-Ore Life Flight was alerted in case Buscho needed medical attention.

The officers successfully rescued Buscho and pulled him ashore. Fiona took matters into her own hands, jumping out of the kayak and swimming to shore.

Dunn stressed the importance of the dangers of the river current and ocean conditions in the winter months.