Dive teams recover body of missing canoeist at Lake of the Ozarks

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. -- The Missouri State Highway Patrol Dive Team recovered the body of a 24-year-old Osage Beach man from the Lake of the Ozarks Wednesday afternoon after the canoe he was on Tuesday had capsized.

"He's young. Just starting off his life. Just very, very sad," said Rita Lahti, the property manager of the Ozark Oaks Apartments.

The man, who troopers identify as Somodd 'Ryan' Kong, was found just after 1:10 p.m. Wednesday in 17 feet of water.

"I was devastated," Lahti said about hearing the news. "He's a hard worker. He's probably the best tenant we've got here right now."

Just before 3:30 Tuesday afternoon, Kong and another man, identified by troopers as 28-year-old Nicholas Compton, were fishing on a canoe.

Witnesses say Kong appeared to have caught a fish and stood up in the boat, which caused it to flip.

That witness, who was on his apartment's balcony, saw it all happen.

"They started scrambling for shore and screaming. So, me and somebody else that lives here ran down there and tried to get them out of the water."

But, because the water was so cold, the two Good Samaritan witnesses weren't able to be in the water long.

"15 minutes...if that. The guy that was trying to save the guy that was further out in the water started seizing up really fast."

That witness did not want to be identified.

State Troopers say neither Kong or Compton were wearing life jackets while on the canoe.

"If you're not comfortable with it, especially if you can't swim, don't get out on there without a life jacket first of all. And, I mean, if you think about it, look at this cove," the witness said. "This cove isn't even that big. It's not like they were out in open water. They fell right next to a dock, right next to the shore. Two of us, even with that guy's best effort, we still couldn't get him out. Be careful. Just...be careful."

Family has been notified.

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