Alberta kayaker dies in waterfall plunge

An experienced kayaker from Calgary has died after trying to go over a waterfall near Crowsnest Pass, Alta.

Jaron Kooperberg, 29, intentionally paddled over the Lundbreck Falls on Sunday evening in his kayak and did not resurface from the water for several minutes, said RCMP Const. Melanie Sokoloski on Monday.

Fellow paddlers and paramedics tried to resuscitate Kooperberg at the scene. He was taken to the Pincher Creek Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from injuries sustained in the fall.

Friends told investigators that Kooperberg had gone over the Lundbreck Falls — a 12-metre drop — as well as other waterfalls in the past.

"He appeared to a lot of people to be very confident in his abilities and I think it's just an unfortunate circumstance, it's one of those things that's hard to predict," said Sokoloski.

"He's done rapids, he's done waterfalls … and he's been successful in making it through these. He might have felt that [with] his ability levels, he'd be able to be successful."

Kooperberg and two friends were attending a kayaking festival in the Crowsnest Pass area, more than 270 kilometres south of Calgary, over the long weekend, said Sokoloski.

Spring runoff has raised water levels in the area and created swift-flowing waters, she added. The scenic falls are a popular spot with tourists and campers from a nearby campground.

With files from The Canadian Press