A renowned kayaker who was attending UW Medical School has been identified as the man who died in the Stillaguamish River, near Granite Falls, on Nov. 30.
Xavier A. Engle drowned in the river, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Engle, 27, grew up in Anchorage and moved to Seattle after attending Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He was enrolled at the University of Washington School of Medicine, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.
But what he was best known for in Alaska, and among paddlers, was his whitewater boating skill. Engle spent summers as a raft guide, was one of the stars in the 2010 film “New Horizon: An All-Alaskan Whitewater Film,” and he paddled for a time as a sponsored athlete for Fluid Kayaks, according to a story in the Alaska Dispatch News.
Engle was reportedly paddling in the Stillaguamish with friends when his boat overturned and he fell out of the kayak. News media reported Engle’s friends were unable to resuscitate him or pull him to shore. His body was recovered by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.
The Alaska Dispatch News said Engle was familiar with tough rivers and had honed his skills in challenging whitewater.
“Few people I have ever met in my lifetime had as much charisma or good energy as Xav emitted,” friend Tim Johnson, another noted Alaska kayaker, told the Dispatch News. “I met Xav a long time ago, before he was old enough to drive. I would pick him up at his house almost every week to go whitewater kayaking down the local rivers and creeks here around Anchorage.”