A kayaking trip in Arkansas last week ended in tragedy for Chuck Morris, percussionist for the electronic jam band Lotus and his son Charley, 20.
Chuck’s wife, Jennifer Thompson, shared her first public comments since search and rescue teams disclosed the two men are presumed drowned.
Jennifer told ABC that Chuck, Charley and their daughter traveled to Beaver Lake for a camping trip on March 16. Reflecting on the weather conditions at the time, she said: “For all intents and purposes, [it was] a perfect storm for drowning.”
Thompson recalls encouraging Chuck and Charley to kayak before the forecasted storm hit. Thompson’s daughter decided to drive to town for a quick shopping trip while the men spent time on the lake.
Jennifer shared the men were nowhere to be found when her daughter returned to the camp area.
Thompson said she was not concerned when the men were late in returning; she reported thinking they “must be having a great time.” But as time passed, she went into “crisis mode” and contacted local police for assistance.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office responded quickly and initiated a search for Chuck and Charley.
Fox 31-Denver reported that search teams found a coat and two kayaks on the lake but no signs of Chuck or Charley.
Thompson told ABC, officials speculate that one of the men fell into the water and struggled to stay afloat due to the weight of his wet clothing, which prompted the second man to jump into the water to lend aid.
“What saved me from the beginning of this is that they died together; they were together,” said a grieving Thompson.
At this time, officials believe the two men drowned. Officials have not yet recovered any bodies.
On Tuesday, Chuck’s band announced the search had moved from a rescue to a recovery stage.
“We were all hoping for a miracle, but at this point, the search for Chuck & Charley has moved to a recovery,” the band tweeted. “With help from K9 teams, there is a probable location on the lake, but logistical challenges including temp, weather, and depth have prevented a recovery thus far.”
“It is unknown how long these efforts may take. While we are deeply grieving, we plan to celebrate Chuck and Charley’s lives, our memories with them, and what they meant to so many people.”
The band recently completed a five-week tour; the band’s website noted the next tour was to begin on March 31.
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