The Fredericksburg, Virginia City Dock, where two kayakers launched in a strong current, leading to an accident that left one of them missing. Photo: City of Fredericksburg

Rappahannock Kayaker Swept Away by Current

Search crews in Fredericksburg, Virginia have recovered the body of a kayaker missing after an accident in the Rappahannock River. 40-year-old Brandon Childs, a Fredericksburg native, was found three days after he was swept away in a strong river current.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) got the call around 4 p.m. Sunday. DWR spokesperson Paige Pearson tells Bay Bulletin Childs and a female companion had launched their kayaks from the Fredericksburg city docks with a “very strong” current and high water levels. “The water was over the docks when they launched,” Pearson tells us.

Shortly after launching, the current started taking the woman’s kayak quickly downstream. Childs went out to help her get back, but the two kayaks collided and he fell in, Pearson says. Childs was able to get back to his boat but couldn’t hold on. He wasn’t wearing a life jacket. The female paddler got safely back to shore uninjured.

The river advocacy group Friends of the Rappahannock posted on Facebook, “River conditions are always changing especially at the Fall Line near Fredericksburg. The best way to stay safe is to wear a life jacket when out on the river and to check the water levels and weather before going out.”

The Spotsylvania and Stafford County Sheriff Offices, Prince William and Fredericksburg Police Departments, and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Fire Departments all helped search for Childs.

Friends of the Rappahannock remarked, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this missing kayaker.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano