Missouri State Highway Patrol Search for Missing Kayaker


UPDATE 3:00 p.m. May 3: 

Sgt. Jason Pace with the Missouri State Highway Patrol has confirmed the body of the second kayaker who went missing on Bull Creek, near Walnut Shade, Wednesday afternoon has been recovered. 

Search teams found him just after 1:30 Friday afternoon, not far from where he was reported missing.

TANEY COUNTY, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol is searching for a kayaker who went missing on Bull Creek near Walnut Shade Wednesday afternoon.

It happened while he was out on the water with two other friends. One of the men survived, but the body of another was found today.

Meantime, family and friends of the kayakers are talking about this tragedy.

The three men were overcome by the current from creek, which had flooded from Tuesday’s storms. 

“It’s just..it’s terrible for their familes. Terrible. So, just a lot of prayers went up last night for all of them,” said Tracy Boyce, who helped one of the kayakers.

Justin Seale is on the left and Alex Ekern, known as “Phoenix” by his friends, is on the far right. His body was found today. 

“My husband actually has kayaked this creek numerous times — and it’s something that they all loved to do,” said Monica Seale, Justin’s wife.

Family members say the kayaks eventually crashed into each other as the men attempted to get out — and that’s when they all capsized. Seale held onto a log for dear life. 

“What my husband said was that you know they were having fun. They were all talking about how much they were having fun with it — and you know.. it just happened in a split second,” Monica Seale said,

“I’m still just kind of in disbelief about it. I’m very grateful. I’m thankful that he made it. But, I still kind of..part of me feels guilty in a way. I don’t know..I’m..  I feel bad for the other, you know two.. and the families.” 

Justin Seale managed to walk two and half miles to the home of Tracy Boyce.  

“He was white, scared..I’m sure in shock,” said Boyce.

Boyce and her husband were cleaning up flood water in their home at the time. 

“He just explained to us that he had put in a kayak ..he and two buddies up above us and they had crashed into each other and tipped over and he hadn’t seen his buddies since then,” Boyce said.

While flooding in Bull Creek is common, Boyce says this was one of the worst she’s ever seen, “We normally have what we call a good flood every year, since we’ve been here. This is the second to the worse we’ve seen.”

Justin Seale is 36-years-old and Alex Ekern was just 23 years old. Out of courtesy to the family, we are not releasing the name of the kayaker still missing.

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