Woodland Man Dies After Being Recovered in Columbia River on New Year’s Day


A 62-year-old Woodland man has been declared dead after being rescued from the Columbia River on New Year’s Day during a kayaking fishing accident.

Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Troy Brightbill told The Daily News that Michael Larson, 62, of Woodland, has died after he was discovered by first responders holding onto a piling about 700 feet from the shore of Austin Point in Woodland.

Brightbill said Larson was spotted at roughly 7:09 p.m. and was not wearing a life vest at the time of the incident. Besides earlier reports of dense fog hampering the rescue efforts, water currents also played a role in bringing Larson to safety, Brightbill said.

Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue Chief John Nohr told The Daily News the victim was suffering from “extreme hypothermia” and had “cardiac issues” when he arrived at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

Larson had gone fishing with a friend on Sunday when he decided to go kayaking alone and fish by himself. His friend later heard splashing and yelling, Nohr said.

According to the National Weather Service, the temperature at 6:59 p.m., minutes before Larson was found, was 36 degrees.