Formal search for missing Pa. kayaker ended

The search has been called off for a missing kayaker from Pennsylvania, who disappeared after his kayak capsized Jan. 28 along the Susquehanna River a few miles north of the Pennsylvania-Maryland border.

Eric Levis, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, said Tuesday a backpack was found over the weekend near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, and Pennsylvania state authorities have since decided to stop formally searching.

Levis said he did not know exactly when the search was called off or where the backpack was found, nor did he know which of the groups searching had found it.

Dave Williams, spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association, said several Harford swiftwater rescue groups aided in the latest search, which resumed last Friday.

"I know that over the weekend Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS [Association] Technical Rescue Team, as well as Darlington VFC, assisted with a search for the missing the area of Glen Cove Marina and Conowingo Dam," Williams wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

"Personnel from Lancaster County were also on scene, as the incident was initially in their jurisdiction. I do not know what was found or the current status of any ongoing operations," Williams wrote.

Rescue personnel were searching for Nicholas Herr, 24, of New Providence, Pa., who was separated from a close friend and fellow kayaker after both of their vessels capsized about six miles north of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border on Jan. 28.

Harford County rescuers had originally been called to help find the missing man on Jan. 29, but the search ended later that day. The search resumed on Jan. 30 but also failed to produce results. It was resumed again last Friday.

The other person who was with Herr, Archie McConnell, of Quarryville, Pa., managed to swim to safety after the incident.

McConnell told authorities the two men had decided to winter camp on an island, where they had been before. McConnell encountered rough water, was turned sideways and his boat started taking on water. Herr attempted to aid him, and both kayaks capsized, he said.

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