Alaska photographer’s final moments captured on his own GoPro
A photographer from Juneau, Alaska, inadvertently filmed his own tragic fate on a glacial lake. Paul Rodriguez Jr., a 43-year-old outdoor enthusiast, met with a horrifying accident while kayaking on Mendenhall Lake. The authorities have not yet located his body, but the GoPro camera mounted on his helmet has provided haunting footage of the incident.
The events unfolded on July 11 when Rodriguez’s kayak capsized due to a powerful current emanating from the glacier. Alaska State Troopers, who continue to search for his body, confirmed that the helmet found on the lakeshore belongs to Rodriguez and contains footage capturing the tragedy.
The search teams have been combing Mendenhall Lake for any trace of the missing kayaker since the incident. Juneau police initially received a report from U.S. Forest Service employees about a vehicle parked at the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area since July 11. The vehicle was registered to Rodriguez, which raised concerns about his whereabouts.
Friends and family were alarmed when Rodriguez’s roommate reported that he was last seen on July 10. Adding to their concern was a social media post made by Rodriguez on July 11, featuring a kayak on a beach near Nugget Falls, which is situated in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area and overlooks the lake.
The discovery of an unmanned kayak floating on the lake on the same day as the post aligned with the details from Rodriguez’s message, triggering an immediate search operation.
“The recording continued showing that the kayak overturned due to a strong current coming from the glacier,” Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Tim DeSpain tells The Associated Press.
Remembered as a kindhearted man who cherished the outdoors, Rodriguez’s son, Jaden Rodriguez, shared fond memories of his father. He described him as someone who loved fishing, paddleboarding, and snowboarding and being a talented photographer.
Despite their relentless efforts, the search teams are yet to find the man’s body. The incident serves as a tragic reminder of the unpredictable dangers nature can pose, even to the most seasoned adventurers.
[Via Associated Press]
Image credit: Jay Galvin (jay galvin), CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe