Authorities searching for kayaker reported missing in pond in Cy-Fair area

March 10, 2013 8:12:54 PM PDT
The search continued Sunday for a fisherman who went missing the day before in a northwest Harris County retention pond.

Emergency crews say Ryan Smith, 32, was fishing in a kayak near the 8800 block of Mossbriar Court in the Copper Lakes subdivision Saturday. They believe he went into the water when his kayak overturned.

"We did a 360 [degree] search of the retention pond area, and also, with the help of the Department of Public Safety, we did an aerial search," said Deputy Thomas Gilliland with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Rescuers employed a number of techniques, from sonar equipment to divers. Crews spent Sunday morning dragging the shallow perimeter of the lake, and sent a diver in to investigate what they're calling an "anomaly."

DPS used their helicopter Saturday to circle the 100-plus acre retention pond a number of times, and a Houston Police Department helicopter came in Sunday to scan the pond with infrared, looking for abnormal shadows.

The local Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department also had their men on boats, but what they found Saturday afternoon when the sun was still out wasn't promising.

"Upon our arrival, we found a capsized kayak with a few personal items on board and a pickup truck with nobody around," said Captain Brian Shirley with Cy-Fair VFD.

We later learned Smith's cell phone was in the truck.

Nearby residents had reported seeing a man fishing in the pond as early as 10am Saturday, but nobody realized something was wrong until hours later.

Smith is from Magnolia, but he has family in the neighborhood where he disappeared. Relatives say they are not aware of any medical condition that could cause Smith to collapse and capsize the kayak, officials said.

"He's been known to kayak fish this retention pond quite often," Gilliland said. "Family members say he's a very good avid fishermen and swimmer so at this point, we don't know what exactly has happened."

Shirley said they ended their search around 8pm Sunday and he was not sure if they would return Monday. According to officials, this is still considered a missing persons case, and it's possible Smith isn't in the water.

Smith stands 5 feet 11 inches tall and has brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing shorts and a white T-shirt. Anyone with information can contact the Harris County Sheriff's Office at 713-755-7427.

Please stay with Eyewitness News and for updates. ___________________________________________________________

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