PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified the body of a missing kayaker found Saturday near the Gandy Bridge.
- Body found near Gandy Bridge on search for missing kayaker
- FWC says the waters around the Gandy Bridge can be 'tricky'
- Authorities have not yet identified the body
- More Pinellas County headlines
FWC officials say they have identified the missing kayaker as Dominic Johnson, 35, of St. Petersburg. His body was discovered by St. Pete/Clearwater Airport Fire Rescue.
Authorities responded to the Gandy Bridge after receiving a call around 5:34 p.m. Saturday. The U.S. Coast Guard says an overturned kayak was found near the bridge on the St. Petersburg side.
According to Sgt. Spencer Gross, a body was found in the water near the location half an hour later by a Tampa Police Department helicopter, and the search was discontinued. The man was unresponsive and later declared dead by first responders.
Witnesses say Johnson hadn’t been in the water long before he started having trouble.
Ronnie Coston says he could see Johnson struggling, but he was reportedly too far for anyone on land to reach him.
"We were trying to whistle and yell for a boat that was passing by, but I guess nobody could hear us, and he let go of the boat and floated out," Coston said.
FWC officials say the waters around the Gandy Bridge can be tricky. Coston said he fishes in the area lot and knows that for a fact.
"If you can’t swim, you got to be careful. But I mean the boat he was on was like, little," he said.
FWC, the U.S. Coast Guard, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Petersburg Police Department, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, and TPD responded to the scene.
FWC officials said they're investigating this case as a boating accident.