Body of Missing Kayaker Found near E. G. Simmons Park in Ruskin Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Marlin patrols the Gulf of Mexico June 13, 2010, in support of the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill Response. The crew of the 87-foot Marlin, homeported in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., set out on their two-week patrol to provide logistical support for the oil spill response. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

USCG File Photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard has ended its search for a missing 22-year-old kayaker at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday after his body was found near E. G. Simmons Park, in Ruskin, Fla.

A body matching the description of Jerry D. Knight, 22, was found by a good Samaritan at about 4:30 p.m., and was identified by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office members.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday from a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office marine unit reporting that they had rescued Wes Powell, 31, who was aboard a kayak tied to a buoy south of Gadsden Point at about 2:50 p.m. Powell reported that he had separated from his friend Jerry D. Knight, 22, who remained missing.

At approximately 12:00 a.m. Sunday, crews on a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office helicopter found Knight’s unmanned kayak and paddle on Pine Key Island, in Tampa Bay.

Multiple federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies conducted an exhaustive search with no sight of Knight.

Assisting in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew
  • Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg 25-foot response boat crews
  • Station St. Petersburg 45-foot response boat-medium crews
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Marlin
  • Coast Guard Auxiliary crews
  • Members from Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
  • Members Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Members Manatee County Sheriff’s Office
  • Members from Tampa Police Department
  • MacDill Air Force Base security personnel
  • Members Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

FWCC is investigating the incident.

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