For Kayakers, a River’s Allure — and Its Wrath

A kayaker pushed off the jagged rocks of the Virginia shoreline below Great Falls on Friday afternoon, and the swirling, churning water immediately pulled his boat into the swift current of the Potomac. He thrust his paddle into the water to regain control and battled his way upriver toward the falls, the little orange kayak bouncing through cold waves in a course both grueling and graceful.

A helicopter hovered just overhead, a reminder of just how dangerous the river can be. Police were still searching for the body of an expert kayaker who got into trouble last Tuesday afternoon in rapids called Grace Under Pressure and disappeared in the falls just below.

Authorities say Todd Andrew most likely was forced underwater by the powerful river and pinned into a submerged hole or a cave there. He was the second kayaker to die on the Potomac this month.

Read: For Kayakers, a River’s Allure — and Its Wrath