Emergency light

A kayaker drowned on Friday while trying to ride across a low-head dam on the Nodaway River in southwest Iowa.

Jerrimiah Bryant Smiley, 38, of Maryville, Missouri, drowned when he was pitched off his kayak and pulled under by the undertow directly below the dam.

Smiley and another man, David Medley, 33, also of Maryville, had been on a multiday kayaking camping trip along the Nodaway. They were kayaking from Villisca, Iowa, to Maitland, Missouri. The drowning occurred near Clarinda. 

Both went over the dam on their kayaks, both were wearing life vests and both were thrown into the river. Medley, who was swept downriver, made multiple unsuccessful efforts to reach Smiley.

When the river flushed Smiley out, Medley pulled him to the side of the river to attempt CPR. Emergency personnel arrived on scene and took Smiley to an area hospital, where he was declared dead.

The Page County Sheriff's Office, the Clarinda Police and Fire Departments, and the Clarinda Ambulance service assisted at the scene.

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