canoe capsize

Carl Seybolt Jr., left, talks with emergency personnel on the Washington riverfront after a canoe he and his father were riding in as part of he MR 340 race down the Missouri River capsized around 4:45 a.m. Thursday morning.

A father and son team competing in the Missouri American Water (MR340) race on the Missouri River are lucky to be alive after their canoe capsized in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning.

Both men were found safe after coming ashore in the vicinity of the Washington landfill just before 5 a.m.

Carl Seybolt Jr., 27, Florida, was picked up by a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy on Hillside Farm Road after he was able to find a home and call 911 around 7:20 a.m.

He told authorities he thought he had walked a couple of miles after coming onto land.

Seybolt was driven to the Washington riverfront where a search command post was established by Washington Fire Chief Bill Halmich and fire department rescue boats were launched, one going upstream and the other downstream to search.

“He said he last saw his dad clinging to the canoe,” Halmich said. “Both of them were suffering from sleep deprivation.”

Halmich said the second victim, Carl Seybolt Sr., 55, Pennsylvania, reached a home in the 7200 block of Bluff Road where he called 911 at 8:16 a.m.

The father and son were reunited and both were evaluated by Washington EMS and signed refusals for treatment or transport.

Halmich estimates the men both made land between half and three quarters of a mile from one another and both had to travel through rough terrain to reach the homes where they called for help.

“They would have had to walk two or three miles to get to those houses,” Halmich said. “There’s some pretty tough brush through there.”

Seybolt Jr. said he was standing up in the canoe to hand his father a cellphone, lost his balance and both men went into the river around 4:45 a.m.

When he arrived at the command post, he wasn’t wearing shoes and was carrying only a small life jacket and a shopping bag.

Halmich said the men borrowed a cellphone and called the elder Seybolt’s fiancée, who had been following the race by land to pick them up.

The Seybolts’ canoe was recovered later by a race safety boat down river from where the two men capsized.

Although Washington is not an official stop on the MR340 race, Halmich said this is the second time in three years his firefighters have been involved in an emergency incident involving canoe racers.

Washington firemen were assisted on the river Thursday morning by firefighters from Boles Fire District and Augusta firefighters searched the Warren County side of the river from land.

Klondike Park in Augusta, across from the Labadie power plant, is an official checkpoint for the race, which began in Kansas City Aug. 8.