GOWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A search and rescue operation at Zoar Valley located four missing people.

Dispatchers received a call for the missing people around 9 p.m.

Gowanda Fire Chief Steve Raiport told News 4 the four were kayaking when it started getting too dark to be in the area, and they called 911. He said several local fire crews showed up to the scene and the four were located quickly.

“It takes our crews a good hour or so to walk up in there from this location,” he said. “We could’ve went in on several different locations, but we would’ve had to rappel down to them. Seeing nobody was injured, the safest way and easiest way was coming in off Valentine’s Flats and walking into them.”

Raiport said crews had to bring shoes into the gorge for the kayakers, who were barefoot once found.

“Be aware of your surroundings, and be aware of the time,” he said. “It’s getting darker earlier. Don’t go out so late in the evening and taking that trek because it does get darker in the gorge area.”

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.