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Scappoose man drowns while fishing in the Columbia

Officials confirm his foot became tangled in kayak anchor line


A Scappoose man drowned in the Columbia River Sunday, Sept. 8, after his kayak tipped over while he was fishing near Woodland, Wash.

Richard Schlumpberger, 55, was apparently held under the water by his own anchor and unable to resurface.

Cowlitz County Communications received a 911 call Sunday, at about 3 p.m., reporting a male kayaker in the Columbia River had gone underwater and had not resurfaced. The incident occurred near Austin Point, a recreational beach maintained by the Port of Woodland.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to coordinate search and rescue efforts along with several other agencies, including the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Cowlitz County District 1 Fire, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Clark County Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard to assist with locating the kayaker’s body.

Schlumpberger had been underwater for more than an hour when he was found and pronounced deceased at the scene.

Upon recovering the body, officials discovered Schlumpberger had an anchor line wrapped around his foot.

Schlumpberger had been fishing from his kayak when he went underwater and had not been wearing a lifejacket. It appears he was unable to swim back to the surface due to being tangled in the anchor line, Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office officials said in a press release. Deputies were able to confirm the anchor line was from Schlumpberger’s kayak.

The Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office assisted with the death investigation and Cowlitz Chaplaincy provided assistance to family members who had been on shore and called 911 when Schlumpberger did not resurface.