Man from Woodland dies following water rescue


A 62-year-old man from Woodland died after he was rescued from the Columbia River near Austin Point following a kayaking accident. 

At about 7:10 p.m. on Jan. 1, deputies from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, the Cowlitz County Marine Patrol, Clark County Fire, Cowlitz District 1, the Cowlitz County Dive and Rescue team and the U.S. Coast Guard were dispatched to a report of a man clinging to his kayak in the river, stated a news release from the sheriff’s office.

The kayaker was later identified as Michael Larson, 62, of Woodland. 

Larson was located by deputies from Cowlitz County and a Cowlitz County UAS pilot. He was reportedly clinging to pilings in the river that were several hundred feet from the shore in swift currents, stated the release.

Deputies made verbal contact with Larson and with the assistance of the UAS directed the Cowlitz County Marine Patrol and Clark County Fire boats to his location. 

“This rescue mission was extremely challenging due to swift currents, heavy fog, and Larson's rain bibs and boots being filled with water,” stated the release. “Larson, who was not wearing a personal flotation device, was pulled onto a rescue boat and transported to a nearby dock.” 

Larson was then transported by ambulance to Southwest Washington Medical Center and was later pronounced dead.  

His next of kin have been notified, the sheriff’s office reported. 

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Larson’s family with expenses. It can be accessed online at