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Alaska man films own drowning on glacial lake with GoPro strapped to helmet; his body remains missing

Officials in Alaska reviewed footage from a recovered GoPro camera and determined Paul Rodriguez Jr., 43, had inadvertently recorded his own drowning.

An Alaska man is presumed to have drowned on a glacial lake after authorities recovered footage from a helmet-mounted GoPro that appeared to reveal his fate. But his body remains missing.

Paul Rodriguez Jr., 43, of Juneau, drowned July 11 when his kayak overturned at Mendenhall Lake at the foot of the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska State Troopers said in a statement. 

A passerby found a lone kayak at the lake July 11, but it had no identifying markings, troopers said. The individual reported there was no one in or around the lake in distress.

While teams are continuing to search the lake for the body of Rodriguez, troopers said a good Samaritan discovered a GoPro camera mounted on a helmet on the shore and turned it over to authorities. The camera was confirmed to have belonged to Rodriguez.

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After reviewing the footage, officials determined Rodriguez had inadvertently recorded his own drowning in the glacial waters when the kayak overturned. Troopers spokesperson Tim DeSpain told The Associated Press there was a strong current coming from the glacier at the time.

Rodriguez was not believed to have been wearing a life jacket or appropriate protective clothing for glacial water sports, troopers said.

Juneau Police said the department received a report Sunday from U.S. Forest Service employees about a vehicle parked at the recreation area since July 11 and determined it was registered to Rodriguez.

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Rodriguez's roommate reported last seeing him July 10, according to police, and friends said a social media post by Rodriguez July 11 showed a kayak on a beach that appeared to be near Nugget Falls, which is in the recreation area along the lake.

Rodriguez’s son, Jaden Rodriguez, recalled how his father’s life changed for the better when he found God. He said his father was kindhearted and enjoyed being outdoors for activities like fishing, paddleboarding, snowboarding and photography.

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"He was a good person," Jaden said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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