Monday, 24 January 2011

Body of Missing Kayaker Found in Ruskhin


Ruskin, FL -- Hillsborough County investigators say a fisherman discovered the body of a missing kayaker Sunday afternoon around 4:30 pm near E.G. Simmons Park.

22-year-old Jerry Knight had been kayaking Saturday with a friend, 31-year-old Wes Powell, when his friend said he was unable to continue.

A Hillsborough County marine unit found Powell aboard his kayak tied to a buoy south of Gadsden Point about 2:50 p.m. Saturday. That's when the Coast Guard was alerted that Knight had been separated from his friend.

The Coast Guard launched a search for Knight with the help of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Pinellas and Manatee County deputies, Tampa Police officers, MacDill Air Force Base security and Florida Fish and Wildlife also helped with the search.

Around noon Sunday, crews on a sheriff's office helicopter spotted Knight's kayak and paddle on Pine Key Island, but did not see any sign of Knight there.

FWC says the windy weather led to choppy waters on Saturday, likely making kayaking very challenging.

Sunday night Knight's fiancee, Laura, posted a message on her facebook wall, reading "I love you so much baby. I will see you again one day and we will be together again."

FWC says both kayakers were wearing life jackets.

Officers say Knight had no visible signs of trauma, so he likely died of hypothermia.

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