Niagara Gazette

July 8, 2013

State Park Police say UB student fell in river Saturday as search continues

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

New York State Park Police say they are not abandoning their search for a 23-year-old Amherst man who slipped and fell into the lower Niagara River Saturday night.

Park Police Lt. Patrick Moriarty said searchers spent much of Monday in the Niagara River gorge looking for Narang "David" Kim.

"We will continue to look for him as long as there is daylight," Morarity said.

Kim, a UB student, fell into the water as he and some family members were walking in the gorge, off of the posted hiking trail.

“The young man had stepped on to a rock that was at a very steep angle into the water,” Moriarty said. “There was also algae on the rock making it very slippery.”

The park Police lieutenant said, at that point along the shoreline in the river gorge, the water moves so swiftly that “if you put too much of your foot in there, (the current) just grabs you.”

“He apparently slipped into the water and before he could grab onto something he was pulled in,” Moriarty said. “He was last seen being pulled out into the middle of the river, down river from the whirlpool.”

The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. and Park Police officers, assisted by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Air One, began an immediate search for the man. The search was called off when it became too dark and resumed on Sunday morning.

Rescuers, assisted again by Air One, spent all day Sunday looking for Kim but failed to find any trace of him. They continue to call their work a "search" and not a "recovery" operation.

Even as police searched for Kim, they continued to encounter other park visitors who were placing themselves in danger.

“As we’re down there looking for this man, another group of people came off the (posted) trail and it looked like they were going to start jumping from rock to rock in the water,” Moriarty said. “They walked right by us and we had to tell them to get back up on the trail.”

Park Police are also still looking to recover the body of a woman who went over the Falls, near Prospect Point on Saturday night. Officers received a report of a woman in the rapids, just above the falls, around 9:40 p.m., but by the time they reached the area, the woman had gone over the brink.

“She was standing in the water and then just gave up and went over (the brink),” Moriarty said. 

Park Police said the incident was a suicide. 

“This was intentional, it was not an accident. We found a (suicide) note,” Moriarty said. 

Because the death was a suicide, Park Police are only identifying the victim as a 37-year-old local woman.