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Search for missing kayaker underway near Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach

Ryan Tew, 27, was fishing on his red kayak, according to the Coast Guard.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Rescue teams in Virginia Beach are searching for a missing man near the Lesner Bridge.

According to a Coast Guard spokesperson, 27-year-old Ryan Tew launched from Crab Creek in the Lynnhaven Inlet around 11:30 Monday night in his kayak.

According to Coast Guard, search crews located the kayak about 4 miles east of 65th Street Tuesday.

Tew was supposed to come back around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning. When he didn’t, his family alerted authorities.

“Because he filed a verbal float plan saying, ‘I’m leaving at this time, from this area, and I’m due to return around this time.’ It was able to notify rescue crews the information, so that way we can conduct a search,” Coast Guard spokesman Johnathan Tally said. “A float plan… is highly recommended anytime anyone gets underway whether it’s a personal watercraft like a kayak, canoe, or even motorized recreational boat.”

Tew’s family members say he loved to kayak and fish in the Lynnhaven Inlet. They say he’s familiar with the area.

Earlier this afternoon, first responders and search and rescue teams staged under the Lesner bridge. Fisherman Bodean Whitehurst was there as emergency teams responded.

“I’ve been out since 8:30 or so, everything was quiet, water was running. Next thing I know, I heard a whole bunch of radios and car doors. I look up, there’s 12 or 15 EMS vehicles,” Whitehurst said.

The Lynnhaven Inlet is a popular spot for boaters and kayakers, but people who live in the area say it’s also known for swift currents where the water meets the Chesapeake Bay.

“I’m 245 pounds, it can pull me under just like it was flipping a deck of cards and that’s the truth,” Whitehurst said. “If you get a swirl, a vortex out here - it can pull you under. The riptide will have you down a half mile before you even realize what’s going on. And by that time it’s usually too late.”

The Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Police Department, Virginia Beach Police Department, and Virginia Beach Fire Department are working together to find Tew.

Credit: 13News Now

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