RCSO: Man drowns while kayaking on Savannah River

For many people, splashing their way down the Savannah River is the ideal way to spend a summer afternoon.

"This isn't a dangerous river. It's not too deep, there aren't too many rapids out there," said longtime kayaker Gavin Hamilton.

He says he's shocked that Ralph Taylor drowned during a kayaking trip this weekend.

"This isn't something that happens on the regular, I feel sorry for him and his family and anyone related to him; that's very unfortunate," he said.

The Department of Natural Resources says it was Taylor's first time kayaking on the river and he was with two experienced kayakers.

DNR officials say when the group came to a stretch of the river near Goat Island they split up.

The more experienced kayakers took on the challenge of the rapids on the South Carolina side of the island. Taylor opted for the calmer water on the Georgia side of the island.

When his empty kayak appeared down river, authorities searched for him for 13 hours before finding his body in 6 feet of water.

DNR officials say they don't know what happened.

Hamilton thinks the extra rain and higher river levels may have played a part.

"You never know what's under the water, especially when the tides change," he said.

DNR officials say Taylor wasn't wearing a life jacket but there was one in his kayak.

Guides are taking a break from taking kayakers down the rapids because the river is higher and moving faster than normal.