Kayaker found dead near Shining Rock

The body of a kayaker who was reported missing in the Pisgah National Forest late afternoon July 4 was found the following night.

Richard Scott Bradfield, 36, of Lexington, Ky., was found near a riverbank in the Shining Rock Wilderness area around 7:20 p.m. Friday, July 5. Rescuers carried him in a heavy downpour from rugged terrain near the Looking Glass Falls overlook. He was transported to MedWest Haywood after midnight, where he was pronounced dead.

Bradfield was one of a group of seven people who were visiting the area together. He was reported missing shortly after other members of his group saw his kayak capsize and be swept downstream. His kayak was found earlier Friday afternoon.

“This was a tragic incident,” said Haywood County Chief Deputy Jeff Haynes, “and our deepest condolences go out to his family.”

Bradfield was not a novice kayaker, but due to recent storms and heavy rainfall over the past several days, the river was higher than normal and rapids were treacherous, according to Haynes.

“We ask that visitors and residents please be mindful of high water,” Haynes said.  “Please exercise extreme caution when participating in wilderness activity during hazardous conditions.”

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