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Kayaker who died after fall into Bellingham Bay is identified

Bellingham Fire and Coast Guard crews tend to a man whose kayak capsized in Bellingham Bay on Wednesday, Dec. 20. The Coast Guard crew rescued the man and flew him to the waiting medic unit at Bellingham International Airport.
Bellingham Fire and Coast Guard crews tend to a man whose kayak capsized in Bellingham Bay on Wednesday, Dec. 20. The Coast Guard crew rescued the man and flew him to the waiting medic unit at Bellingham International Airport. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The kayaker who died after being pulled from Bellingham Bay on Wednesday has been identified as a 24-year-old Georgia man who was here visiting his brother.

Tony Kang was alone on the water when he fell off a sit-on-top kayak and couldn’t get back on, Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel said.

The cause of death was drowning, according to Goldfogel.

The Coast Guard received a call about a kayaker in the water at 2:16 p.m. Wednesday, a Coast Guard official said. Kang’s brother, watching from the beach, had called 911.

An MH65 Dolphin helicopter and its crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, which were training in the area, were diverted to the scene.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer dived into the bay to recover Kang, who was unconscious, and tried to revive him en route to Bellingham International Airport.

A medic unit from Bellingham Fire Department took him to St. Joseph hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Kang was reported to be a novice kayaker, the Coast Guard said.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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