24-year-old goes missing in Arkansas River in Wichita

Brian Bergkamp (Courtesy Catholic Diocese of Wichita)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The recovery for 24-year-old Brian Bergkamp has been suspended for the night. After working to find the missing kayaker since 8:30 this morning, fire crews say they will resume their search in the morning. The search for Bergkamp is a recovery now, and not a rescue.

Bergkamp went missing early this morning when he tried to save a woman from drowning on the Arkansas River.

“We’re working to find Brian (Bergkamp) and to support his family,” says Amy Pavlacka, a spokeswoman with the Wichita Diocese. “And we would absolutely ask and appreciate prayer for him and his family.”

As Wichita firefighters searched the Arkansas River off I-235 and 21st street, Pavlacka confirmed the missing kayaker is 24-year-old Brian Bergkamp. She confirms family has been notified he is missing, and Diocese leaders are talking to and comforting family.

Bergkamp is a native of Garden Plain, who often volunteered time at the Lord’s Diner in Wichita.

He is scheduled to enter his third year of theological study at Mount St.Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. this fall.

“This is just such a tough time for the family as you can image,” says Pavlacka. “He has known since he was about 8-years-old that he was going into the seminary.”

The Catholic Diocese website says Brian went to Garden Plain High School and Bendictine College in Atchison. He is a member of the St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Garden Plain.

KSN is still talking to firefighters to get an update on Bergkamp, since he went missing trying to save a woman who was having trouble getting to shore in swift moving waters in the Arkansas River this morning.

Firefighters say they switched from rescue mode to “recovery” mode in the search for Bergkamp in the afternoon.

They will resume their search in the morning.

 

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