- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2003

Searchers used cadaver-detecting dogs as they continued to look along the Potomac River yesterday for a missing kayaker, but said their recovery effort was difficult because they were not certain where the accident occurred.

Louis Gill, 82, of Alexandria, entered the river Friday near the Washington Canoe Club, of which he was a longtime member.

Relatives reported him missing later that day.

Mr. Gill’s kayak was found at about 3:30 p.m. near the Francis Scott Key Bridge, downstream from the club, in the 3700 block of K Street.

A member of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Harbor Patrol was not certain last night whether the search would continue today, but said divers had been taking cadaver dogs on boats to help with the recovery.

The dogs can smell a body underwater, which helps divers pinpoint their efforts, he said. Officers also searched along the riverbanks.

A member of the club described Mr. Gill as an experienced waterman, but as vulnerable as anybody else to dangerous currents.

“He was a master kayaker,” said Chisolm McAvoy. “He competed in master events [but] there was a lot of current.”

He also said Mr. Gill was a skilled paddler, but an attempt to turn around in swift-moving water could have overturned the kayak.

Mr. McAvoy said Mr. Gill spent much of his time taking care of his invalid wife before her death last year, but that he came to the club whenever possible.


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